Delicious cheese fondue for cold winter evenings
There is nothing like a delicious cheese fondue to warm you up on a cold winter evening. This does not mean that you can't organize a cheese fondue party on a cool summer evening in the patio, but for me, cheese fondue is associated with dark cold evenings in a small Swiss village, sitting with family and friends by the fireplace in a cozy chalet, watching the snow-capped mountains and the snow falling outside the window and talking in the candlelight until late at night, sharing stories and secrets and laughter while dipping and twirling our bread in the delicious hot bubbly cheese mixture. Fondue is a must-have treat in our house, on cold winter weekend evenings around the fire, where we linger for hours around the piping hot old red pot, blackened by years of loving use.
Even though it is a meal consisting mainly of cheese and bread, real swiss fondue is deliciously simple, rich and chewy, hot and filling and comforting
Combined with a glass of chilled white wine, ( or probably more), it is one of the most enjoyable winter recipes. and it is actually very easy to make.
Photo credit: Dreamstime
What do you need to make a cheese fondue?
Things you will need for a perfect swiss cheese fondue are:
- The ingredients for the cheese mixture. As you can see in my fondue recipe, most are straightforward and easy to find. It is important to use the right kind of cheeses however, and they have to be good quality. You need two or three kinds of cheese for a tasty cheese mixture. I normally use 50% Gruyere and 50% Emmenthaler since they combine for a great taste, smooth yet stringy texture and can be found quite easilly. Other good choices are Vacherin Fribourgeois, Appenzeller, English-style cheddar, Fontina, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Cantalet/Cantal and Raclette. The white wine and kirsch are also quite important components for a good fondue. You can use any brand of good dry white wine. Kirsch (cherry brandy) gives taste and smoothness to the cheese mixture and should not be left out, although you do need just a dash. If you don't have kirsch, or don't want to buy a whole bottle just for the occasion, you can use any kind of fruit-based brandy instead.
The reason I use a cast iron fondue pot is that you prepare the fondue on the stove (in the fondue pot) and then transfer it to the table and place it on the spirit burner. Therefore, the fondue pot must be suitable for all heat sources. The spirit burner or rechaud provides low evenly distributed heat and the whole setup is very cozy and romantic.
However, if you don't like the idea of a traditional fondue pot and burner, you can always use an electric fondue set.
- What else do you need? Good white wine to accompany the fondue and good company. Swiss cheese fondue is a companionable meal, eaten slowly and leisurely, so make sure you eat it with people you enjoy being with and talking to for hours. A cold winter evening, a nice brightly lit fireplace, red candles and good music are very good supplements, although in no way compulsory for a delightful fondue night.
How to make a perfect cheese fondue the easy way
Step by step guide
Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the two halves of the garlic clove and throw it away. Mix the cornstarch and kirsch together in a cup and set aside. Cut the bread into cubes and place it in a bread basket. French baguette type bread is the best choice, although any kind of bread with a crispy crust will do. In the French and Swiss Alps they use bread leftover from the previous day, so that it is slightly tougher and does not slip off the fork when you dip it in the pot. There is nothing more disgusting than fishing out little pieces of soggy bread disintegrating in the cheese mixture!
Put the cheeses and wine in the fondue pot and set it no medium-low heat while stiring. Continue stiring in a figure 8 motion, until the cheeses melt and start bubbling. Add the kirsch mixture and continue stiring over low heat, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, approximately 20 minutes. Now transfer the fondue pot to the table and place it on the spirit burner. Keep the flame low, just high enough to keep the cheese mixture warm, not burn the bottom. Everyone spears a cube of bread on his/her fondue fork and dips it in the pot. Using a swirling motion and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot, lift your bread and melted cheese forkful from the pot, twirl it a bit over it until the cheese starts setting a bit, and....enjoy!
When you reach the bottom of the pot, the cheese there will most likely have formed a crust. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY OR GIVE IT TO THE DOG!!! For connaiseurs, this is probably the best part of a fondue meal! You can either scrape at it with your forks and eat it up -yum-yum, or...have you ever wondered why they bring you a whole raw egg at the end of a fondue meal in most Swiss restaurants? Break it up and stir it in and enjoy one of the best cheese omelets you have ever had!
Photo credit: hurtubia
Rate this recipe
More fondue ideas on Amazon
Check out these very well rated fondue pots and sets and make your choice
Take a poll!
Fondue facts and trivia
- Fondue means "melted" in French
- In the Alps, if you only ask for "fondue" you will get a traditional cheese fondue just like the one my recipe makes. You would have to specify if you wanted another kind of fondue such as Bourguignonne (meat in oil) or Chinese (meat in broth)
- In the Alpine region, fondue is a traditional dish, not a tourist attraction. Swiss peasants have never been particularly rich and their food was always a combination of their cheapest products: Cheese, bread, potatoes and dried meat. Are you wondering why the famous raclette also originates in the Swiss region?
- In the Alps, just like in our house, fondue was never "in" or "out" of fashion! It has always been one of the most wholesome, companionable and enjoyable winter meals you can imagine
© 2012 Aquamarine18
Do you like fondue?
meggingmad on February 19, 2014:
You can now buy individual, 2 minute microwave fondue pots in Lidl supermarkets. They make a really yummy quick snack. Trust me, they`re better than they sound.
jlshernandez on June 24, 2013:
I make Swiss fondue a lot andnever get tired of it.
goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on May 05, 2013:
I've had it -- it's a nice change of pace.
BigsteveC on March 16, 2013:
i've had fondue before and never knew what the ingredients were - but i do know i enjoyed it and hovered over the pot - i'd like to try the meat version
anonymous on March 14, 2013:
I had fondue in the Italian Alps .. it was delicious!
Natural_Skin_Care on January 27, 2013:
Our local fondue restaurant is expensive so this is a good alternative.
victoriahaneveer on January 25, 2013:
I've never had meat fondue and am not that interested in it but I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese fondue!!!! Yum! Blessed.
malena10 on December 06, 2012:
Yes, Cheese fondue is really delicious.
mrsclaus411 on November 16, 2012:
Mary from Chicago area on October 30, 2012:
perfect dish for chilly fall or winter night -- some years I make it on Halloween! so yummy
anonymous on October 27, 2012:
Yes I like it very much
anonymous on October 27, 2012:
Yes I do. Nice Lens
pambrechlin on October 23, 2012:
Love me some fondue! Cheese and Chocolate!!!
gradientcat on October 23, 2012:
I like meat fondue
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on October 22, 2012:
I love fondue, I think it should be renamed FUNdue because it's such fun to make and enjoy. Thanks for sharing.