What’s better than cheese? Trick question…nothing! But a big bowl of melty cheese (read: fondue) for dipping your heart out ranks really high up there for the best inventions of humankind. The days are getting shorter, and colder, and darker. Fondue to the the stomach and soul-warming rescue!
A quick fondue history lesson: The Swiss have been enjoying this goodness for a very long time. Homer’s Iliad–dated from about 800 to 725 BC–even mentions chowing down on a glorious mixture of goat’s cheese, wine and flour. Sounds like fondue to me! The custom makes a lot of sense. The Swiss have a storied cheese tradition–and cheese odds and ends could easily be warmed up in a big pot atop a fire and savored during frosty Swiss winters.
In 1930, the Swiss Cheese Union appointed fondue the country’s national dish – and the world has been gaga over it ever since. Here’s a can’t-fail recipe for classic fondue…but experiment away! Fondue is a perfect blank canvas for playing around. Alpine cheeses are classic choices and stellar melters, so they’re a great place to start. (Think nutty, savory Appenzeller, pictured below). Go ahead, add some kick with a little of blue, perhaps some creamy gorgonzola. Or introduce a funky note with Spring Brook Farm Reading.
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
150 g (approx. 3/4cup) white wine
4 oz (approx. 1 cup) Gruyère, grated
4 oz (approx. 1 cup) Comté, grated
3 oz Emmental, grated
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1.Sprinkle one teaspoon of salt in the bottom of a small saucepan.
2.Cut garlic clove in half and rub the inside of the pan, starting at the salt.
3.Heat the wine on medium-high just until boiling. While the wine is heating, combine the cheeses and toss with cornstarch until evenly distributed.
4.Gradually add the cheese a half a cup at a time, whisking constantly until melted and smooth.
5.Add lemon juice and whisk until incorporated.
The Great Dipping Debate
Dipping…so fun! Here are some of our favorite fondue vehicle. What’s yours?
- Cubes of your favorite bread
- Crackers! Raincoast Crisps do the trick brilliantly.
- Apples and pears!
- Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, fennel spears, and baby carrots
- Pickles and pickled veggies, like Rick’s Pick’s dilly Mean Beans
- Fingerling potatoes
- Salumi and cured meat. Yes to chunks of chorizo!