Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Fondues are definitely back in style. Whether its traditional, innovative, or simply retro, the fondue has made a welcome return to the dinner party scene.

The latest issue of Food and Wine Magazine even has a retro cheese fondue on its front cover for its New Year's eve dinner.

The fondue originated in Switzerland many centuries ago, and it is now, in fact, the country's national dish. This happened mainly because of the harsh winters in the Alpine mountains which meant that many villages were cut off for months at a time and food supplies were limited. The only readily available ingredients in many areas were cheese, wine, and bread. As the long winter continued, the cheese began to dry out, and the cheese fondue with the addition of wine and kirsch was born. The original Swiss fondue came from the region of Neuchatel and was made with Gruyere and Emmentaler cheese. Other villages soon adopted the dish and created their own versions, using local cheese and produce.

The recipe below is for the traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue.

Ingredients (serves 4)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 to 12 minutes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups grated Emmentaler cheese
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  1. Cut the garlic clove, then rub it around the inside of the fondue pot.
  2. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, and place over the lit burner.
  3. Gradually add the cheeses, stirring throughout until completely melted.
  4. When the cheese has melted and begins to bubble, blend the cornstarch with the kirsch and stir into the pot.
  5. If the fondue becomes too thick, add a little extra warmed wine; if it is too thin, add a little extra cornstarch, blended with a small amount of water.
  6. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add remaining ingredients to taste.
Serve with a green salad, or fruit such as pears, apples and grapes. Salami, mixed pickles and prosciutto also work well.

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