Every time I hear the word ‘fondue’, I go immediately into mouth-watering mode. Yes, I know, it’s kind of retro, but to my mind whoever invented it is a genius. Besides, I think it’s quite timely and very appropriate for our remaining rainy evenings that don’t seem to have any interest in making way for Spring. It’s fun for a party or other gathering, but just as much fun sitting in front of the TV for solo or family scooping. If you have and old fondue pot hanging around, now is the time to haul it out. If you don’t have one, a small slow cooker will also do the trick. You can also make fondue on the stovetop, but it requires some dashing back to the stove to reheat and exceptionally fast eating. In all instances, it’s worth it. It’s also one of the simplest things to make in our entire recipe collection, so no need to hesitate…
The concept is crazy simple: melted cheese with wine and a splash of liquor. Since the cooking part goes so quickly, we’ll take a minute here and get our dipping selections in order. Today’s choices include: big chunks of olive ciabatta bread, a crusty rosemary baguette, some sliced tart apples, and some cherry tomatoes. Your choices are wide open for dipping, so pick whatever suits you. I will confess to trying to dip a hunk of dark chocolate in this fondue, and would not recommend it – not that great tasting and left a puddle of melted chocolate right in the middle of the pot, but was worth a try. We also have an assortment of grapes for palate cleansing if we get too far into cheese overload.
Once we’ve got that all lined out, it’s time to get started on the fondue. First get your wine nice and hot – just an energetic simmer works perfectly. Your cheese selections have been tossed with flour or cornstarch to help the whole thing thicken and melt in a cohesive manner so we are feeling pretty confident right about now. Add the cheese slowly, one handful at a time so as not to overwhelm the mixture, and keep stirring…
At first it will look just a little funky, but never fear….
In no time you’ll have a perfectly silky result. At this point, we add the cherry brandy (kirsch is traditional, but I think any brandy would be perfectly fine). You will, of course need to taste this now to make sure the amount of brandy suits you – this is my favorite part and I will admit to adding just a touch more than the recipe calls for.
All that’s left is the dipping and eating! Maybe a tart apple slice or a juicy cherry tomato?
Or how about we just go for the bread? Either way, I promise you’ll be smiling from ear to ear with the results.
Happy fonduing everyone!! And thank you so much, Kimberly Smith, my brilliant and endlessly patient photography instructor, for taking these photos as we adjusted focal points, changed exposure settings, learned all about macro lenses, and ate our way through a pound of cheese or so. xoxoxo
- 16 ounces total of any two or three of the following cheeses, grated: Jarelsberg, Comte, Fontina Gruyere, or Emmental,
- 2-½ tablespoons flour or cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups white wine (we prefer Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris)
- 2-4 tablespoons cherry brandy (kirsch) or other brandy of your choice
- 1 large clove of garlic, cut in half (optional)
- Black pepper to taste (optional)
- I baguette or other loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- Small basket of cherry tomatoes (optional)
- 1-2 tart apples, cored and cut into eighths (optional)
- If using a fondue pot: Rub the garlic clove over the inside of the fondue pot and discard. Add the white wine and turn pot up to the cheese fondue setting.
- In a large bowl, toss your selected cheeses with the flour or cornstarch.
- When the wine starts to bubble, slowly drop in the cheese by handfuls. Stir between each addition of cheese until everything is melted before adding the next handful. Keep this up until all cheese has been stirred in and is smooth and creamy looking.
- Add the kirsch and pepper, and taste. Don’t be shy about adding more of either until it gets to the point that it tastes just right to you.
- Get those fondue forks out, dunk some ad or whatever else you’ve decided upon, and eat to your heart’s content.
- Here’s a quick way if using a slow cooker: Rub the inside of a small slow cooker with the cut garlic. Heat the wine to simmering in the microwave, and add to the slow cooker that has been turned on to ‘high’. Follow the steps for adding the cheese above, taking your time to make sure all is melted between additions. Then add the kirsch and pepper, taste for seasoning and brandy, then turn slow cooker to low. Keep cooker on low setting while enjoying.
- PS: Don’t forget, any leftover fondue can be refrigerated and dolloped on ravioli before putting it into the oven to warm, or served over baked potatoes. Speaking from experience, it’s almost better this way than as fondue as if that was possible.