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Cheese fondue

by cheree Published on 31 March 2008
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We all dream of recreating delicious fondue worthy of a restaurant in the French Alps. Here's our guide to making the many varieties of cheese fondue. It's so easy, as long as you follow the right rules, use the right cheese and have the right equipment.

>> Method
Start by rubbing a caquelon (fondue pot) with a clove of garlic. Heat the white wine with the cornflour. Add the chopped cheese and let it melt, constantly stirring in a figure of 8 with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture is even, gradually add a dash of kirsch and bicarbonate of soda. Add pepper and serve at a moderate heat.

Note that certain cheeses harden quickly, especially hard cheeses... you need to cook these over a medium heat. On the other hand, some soft cheeses don’t stand up to heat very well, so choose your cheese and cook it accordingly.

Your fondue should stay even, with a semi-liquid appearance, and shouldn’t form lumps when you dip the bread in.

>> Ingredients to add to the cheese
Bread
You can’t have fondue without bread, preferably hard bread. A couple of days before you plan on having your fondue, buy fresh bread (baguette is perfect) and leave it to go hard.

Garlic
Use a clove of garlic to rub your fondue pot with before adding the cheese. This adds flavour to your fondue. It might not seem like much, but it’s vital!

White wine
This adds aroma and a bit of liquid to the mixture. Be careful not to put in too much though!

Cornflour and bicarbonate of soda
Cornflour acts as a binding agent, making the fondue creamy and even.
Bicarbonate of soda makes the fondue easier to digest.


Type of fondueIngredients and quantities for 4 to 6 people
(+ 1 garlic clove, 1 pinch bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon cornflour added to each recipe)
Savoy

300g comté, 300g beaufort, 300g gruyère or emmental, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Swiss

300g gruyère, 300g emmental, 300g sbrinz, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Jurasienne

1kg comté, 500ml Jura white wine, 30ml kirsch

Vaudoise

1kg gruyère, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Fribourgeoise

1kg vacherin, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Appenzelloise

1kg appenzeller, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Fribourgeoise half and half

500g vacherin, 500g gruyère, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Neufchâtel

500g gruyère, 500g emmental, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Mont d'Or

1kg Mont d'Or, 500ml Savoie white wine, 30ml kirsch

Mushroom

Base of your choice with wine and garlic + 100g fresh cèpe or morel mushrooms (or 30g dried then rehydrated), or 1 tablespoon finely chopped truffles, 30ml kirsch

Goat's cheese

700g emmental or comté or gruyère or vacherin, 300g goat's cheese, 500ml Savoie or Jura white wine, 30ml kirsch

Cantal and blue cheese

500g comté, 200g cantal, 300g fourme d'Ambert, 500ml white wine that's not too dry, 30ml kirsch

Italian

300g parmesan, 300g gorgonzola, 200g pecorino, 200g mascarpone, 500ml Italian white wine

Normandy (garlic-free)

300g camembert, 300g pont-l'évêque, 300g livarot, 100g crème fraîche, 100ml milk, 50ml calvados (replaces the kirsch), 1- 2 browned shallots

Alsatian

500g emmental, 200g comté, 300g munster, 500ml Alsatian white wine, 1 pinch ground cumin, 30ml kirsch


Problems and solutions

> If your fondue is too thick, add wine.
> If your fondue is too runny, add a bit of cornflour + white wine.
> If your fondue isn't creamy enough, add a bit of double cream, or cornflour watered down with a bit of wine.

Digestion
Make sure that you don’t scrape out the pot, even if it’s really tempting: what ‘s left at the bottom is very well-cooked fatty cheese which is basically a mission to digest!

by cheree

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