The weather has significantly dropped and we've even had a few snow flakes here in the Swiss Alps! It's time to start thinking about cozy comfort foods, and one of my favorites, and a traditional Swiss dish, is cheese fondue! The Swiss are very proud of this signature dish and everyone has their own idea of how to make the best. Here's a recipe that I love, taken from David Leibovitz's blog. Try it out in this unique fondue pot from Steinlin Swiss Design found in my shop.!
Adapted from Chef Willie Prutsch of Café du Grütli
The chef uses a combination of Vacherin Fribourgeois and slightly aged Gruyère. You could use whatever is available. Avoid a dry, well-aged cheese as they tend to be rather salty. Use cheeses that are less than one year old. There’s some notes at the end of the recipe.
The bread we dipped was dense white bread with a nice crust. Whatever you use, it should be thick-cut and on the drier side but not crispy. When the fondue is finished, the hardened cheese at the bottom of the pot, called la religieuse is considered the reward for finishing it—it’s considered the reward for getting through it!
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (375ml-500ml) dry white wine
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch
- 1 1/2 pounds (700g) mixed grated cheese, such as Gruyère and Emmenthal (see headnote & note)
- optional: 1 to 2 teaspoons kirsch
1. In a sturdy pot, add 1 1/2 (375ml) cup white wine, the garlic and the starch.
2. Add the grated cheese and cook over moderately-high heat, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and smooth. The fondue is done, according the the chef, “When the mixture leaves a skin in the hole of the spoon.” (See photo in post.)
3. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/2 cup (125ml) more white wine until its texture is to your liking. If you wish, add the kirsch.
4. Serve warm, preferably in a fondue pot.
Notes: Because of geographical differences, you may or may not be able to obtain the exact same cheeses. But Emmenthal, Gruyère, and Comté are widely available, although as one commenter noted, Emmenthal (sometimes spelled ‘Emmental”) can be stringy when melted.
For those avoiding alcohol, Chef Prutsch says that he will make a fondue using lemon juice in place of it. I didn’t get a specific quantity, but you can swap out the same amount of water with a good-sized squeeze of lemon juice, enough to approximate the acidity of wine. In fact, some people add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent the cheese from clumping or to fix a broken fondue, which is good advice if that happens to your fondue.