No matter your mood—a romantic dinner for two or a meal for the whole family—fondue is lots of fun! With minimal effort, you can melt hearts on Valentine’s Day with a bit of cheese and some crusty bread.
Which cheese you use can be contentious. Fondue purists argue for combinations of only classic Alpine cheeses, such as Gruyère, Vacherin, Emmentaler, Raclette or Comté. But I wonder why anyone would limit themselves when other variations of gently bubbly cheeses also taste incredible.
My favorite Swiss Fondue recipe would be approved by the fondue purists. It combines earthy, slightly nutty-flavored Gruyère and mild Emmentaler (also known as Emmental or Emmenthal) cheeses with white wine and just a hint of garlic. For the timeless experience, dip chunks of crusty white bread into the luscious mixture. Or, change things up by dipping pieces of crisp apple.
Those who want to venture beyond the classic should try this recipe for Cheddar Stout Fondue. It starts with traditional Swiss cheese and adds sharp cheddar cheese, stout beer and a bit of Dijon mustard. These hearty flavors are great for dipping roasted vegetables, chunks of bread or even sweet gherkin pickles. It might not be typical, but it’s scrumptious!
Assure success of your classic or innovative fondues by following these tips.
- Use more than one variety of cheese for depth of flavor.
- Always use quality cheeses. Better cheeses yield a more delicious fondue.
- Acid from wine, beer or fruit juice keeps the cheeses smooth and prevents them from becoming a stringy mess. I like to add just a bit of lemon juice to be sure there is adequate acid in my fondues.
- If your recipe calls for dry, white wine, any good-quality wine that’s high in acid will work. Many Swiss wines work well but are not readily available. Try Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or a light Pinot Grigio. Remember that wine used in cooking should be one that you like well enough to drink.
- Grate the cheeses for fondue instead of chopping., which makes the cheeses melt more easily.
- Toss the grated cheeses with a little cornstarch before adding them to the fondue. It keeps the cheeses from sticking together and provides a little thickening for the fondue.
- Add the cheeses to the fondue one small handful at a time, making sure that they are completely melted before adding more.