Fondue is a Swiss, Italian and French-origin melted cheese dish served in a dish called a caquelon. It is kept warm by a Sterno type of heat source called a rechaud. Fondue can be broth for meat and vegetables, oil for meat, melted chocolate fondue for fruit and cheese fondue for bread and fruit, which we are discussing here.
Fondue groups have their etiquette. Differing “fun penalties” get levied against a fonduer who loses his bread off of his special, slender fondue fork. Double-dipping the same piece of bread is another taboo.
Basically a cheese fondue is made from a good amount of shredded cheese, a little cornstarch, some wine or beer, garlic and herbs.
The earliest writing of fondue were in a German cookbook back in 1699. They gave it a German name meaning, “to cook cheese with wine,” then dip chunks of bread in it. Next, we learn the earliest cheese fondue, known as fondue, was in the 1930s in Switzerland. People in the North America did not entertain with it until the 1960s.
Cheese is high in salt and fat, however it is rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D. Eating cheese in a fondue amount isn’t usually a frequent practice and enjoying it occasionally is fun.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS & “GO-WITHS”
- Artichoke hearts
- Cayenne pepper
- Cooked fingerling potatoes
- Dry, White wine
- Gherkin pickles
- Lemon/lime juice/zest
Some general tips:
- Middle-priced, dry, wines are best.
- Smaller batches are more successful.
- Rub inside of fondue pot with cut garlic.
- A mixture of about half and half grated Gruyere and Swiss makes a good cheese fondue.
- A small amout of Cornstarch of flour is worked into the cheese after grating. This prevents clumping.
- Figure a ratio of one cup of wine for each pound of grated cheese
- Use the lowest heat setting on the burner.
- If mixture seems too thick, add more wine.
- Add flavorings and kirsch just before the fondue is served.
Prepared cheese fondue blends are available at specialty stores, should you not be a purist. Some come with microwave instructions.
Below are foodsites with cheese fondue recipes.