Traditional Cheese Fondue (as it’s done in Switzerland)

From my travels to Switzerland, when my cousin Kristin took Spence and I to an “underground” fondue restaurant.  “Underground” in the sense that this is a place that locals know of but not “tourists” (as we learned from our tablemates later that evening). Kristin and her husband had lived in neighboring Versoix for a number of years and so she quickly established her credibility.  In reality the restaurant sat on a pier, a long stroll out onto Lake Geneva.  Kristin placed our order at a walk-up station outside the restaurant.  We carried our drinks inside and found seats at one of the long communal dining tables, very rustic.  When your number was called you needed to react immediately as the servers were moving rapidly with vats of molten fondue.  The fondue was served with bread and a side dish of fruit cocktail.  The two men seated next to us (locals) began engaging us in a spirited discussion after dinner including an explanation about Traditional Swiss Fondue and what does (and doesn’t) go into it.  There is so much more to the story of that evening and memories of that trip.  But since this blog is meant to feature a recipe, I’ll save those stories for another blog or my novel…….

Traditional Cheese Fondue

  • 1 lb of Gruyère
  • 1 lb Emmentaler
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 t grated nutmeg
  • Dry white wine
  • Kirschwasser liqueur

Fondue Fixings

Shred the Gruyère and Emmentaler cheeses, I do so in my food processor.  This will yield 8 cups of shredded cheese.  Using a microplane, grate two teaspoons of nutmeg, set aside.  Using a garlic press, pulverize the garlic cloves, set aside.

I use an electric fondue pot but have also made this on the stovetop, transferring into an old-school fondue pot with a little can of sterno blazing beneath it.  That said, when you are ready to assemble, heat the pot – better low and slow than to risk burning this fabulous cheese mix. Start by pouring in 1/2 cup of wine and the garlic into the fondue pot.  As soon as it starts bubbling put in the first two big handfuls of cheese and stir with a fondue fork.  Now stir in the nutmeg.  By handfuls add the cheese, stirring the unmelted into the melted. Add more wine if needed.  At this point add the Kirschwasser.  How much is up to you – I use a healthy shotglass full.  Stir it in.  Serve with wine or beer of your choosing, ready your fondue fork and start dipping, relax and talk with your tablemates.

Dippers

  • Chopped granny smith apple
  • Chopped red apple (I like gala or empire)
  • Carrot chunks
  • Broccoli & Cauliflower Florets
  • Cut up chunks of a good rustic bread or baguette
Ready to go for tonight's New Year's Day dinner! Here's to 2015!
Ready to go for tonight’s dinner!

6 thoughts on “Traditional Cheese Fondue (as it’s done in Switzerland)

  1. I make fondue like this as well. I grew up along the Swiss border, and we always sprinkled a little cornstarch over the grated cheese. This keeps it from separating. We make it around the holidays and invite friends over for it. It’s definitely fun!

    Like

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