Käsefondue Schweizer Art
Cheese fondue. You either love it or hate it! I love it, but I do not like the Dutch variety where Goudse cheese is used. My preference goes to the Swiss variety made with Gruyère and Emmentaler cheese.
We make cheese fondue around festivities and special occasions in a caquelon, a heat resistant melting pot. My preferred tool is a ceramic version with glazing. My caquelon is broken, so this year I’d to make the Cheese fondue in a metal pot. The typical cheese crust that forms during the fondue is a real delicacy, and this is where the difference of the caquelon is essential: the metal pot nearly burned the cheese as the spot temperature becomes too hot to fast. A ceramic version would spread and divide the heat more, allowing a wide crust to be formed.
And now for the recipe for 4 people.
- 500g of Gruyère cheese
- 300g of Emmentaler cheese
- 4 dl + 2 tb of Dry white wine (Swiss Fendant, Sylvaner / Silvaner, Riesling Trocken, Pinot Blanc)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 ts Kirsch (eau de vie cerise)
- 1 tb Starch / Maizena / Stärke
- Black pepper
- (Sweet pepper, grounded)
- 2 Baguettes or white bread cut in squares 2×2 cm
- Wooden spoon
- Heater on the table (spirit heater or heating plate)
The preparation is twofold: first you melt the cheese and mix everythig up, then you serve the molten cheese and keep it heated on the table.
Melting the cheese
Grate the cheese with the cheese grater. Cut the garlic cloves in half, use the halves to rub in the cold caquelon from the inside. Make sure you get up high enough.
Put the caquelon on the stove and turn on the heat, low. Add the wine to the caquelon and heat until the wine begins to fizz. Add the cheese in batches, while continuously stirring the mixture slowly with the wooden spoon. Make sure that the mixture is not coming to a boil!
Take a small bowl / cup and add 2 tb of wine, mix in the starch to let it form a thin sauce without clumps. Add it slowlyto the molten cheese and let the starch set to make the cheese mixture a nice, thick and creamy whole that makes threads when the spoon is removed from the mixture.
Bring the mixture to taste with the Kirsch, (nutmeg), (sweet pepper) and black pepper. Stir 5 times and perpare to move the caquelon to the dinner table.
Serving the fondue
Turn on the heater, transfer the caquelon onto the heater. Make sure that the caquelon is placed in the middle and the heater is set to medium heat. When using a spirit burner, take care to keep the heat low to medium and check the fondue mixture regularly. As the fondue is consumed over time, you need to turn down the heat appropriately or the cheese will burn.
You can serve the fondue with a lot of sidedishes such as salads and dippings or sauces. We mostly serve (small) pickles, small onions and salad. Next to bread, you can also dip nearly everything in the molten cheese. Here are some ideas:
- Baby corn cobs (maize)
- Champignons / Mushrooms
- Small tomatoes
- Cauliflower in small pieces (precooked)
- Broccoli in small pieces (precooked)
If you like sweet fruits with your fondue, you can also exchange the Krish with eau de vie based on Williams Pear or any other spirit.
There is an old tradition with fondue and fun regarding ‘losing’ your piece of bread or other dipping in the fondue. Some people make arrangements of harmless character: the one who loses the bread has to do the dishes afterwards. You can spice this up a little with other penalties, such as singing a song, buying a round or take a shot of your favourite alcohol. Whatever your preference, a fondue is a great family or close friend gathering allowing for much fun!
I bought the cheese for our fondue in Amsterdam over at “De Kaashut” located here where the people are friendly, provide you with recipes and are happy to give you a sample to taste their wide varieties of cheese. Ask your local cheese provider if they will grate the cheese for you, this saves time! In many Swiss cheeseshops, they will even vacuum seal a serving for you with the Kirsch or eau de vie of your choice added. This is great for refrigerating and gives you the opportunity to have a ready to go serving available.
Leader picture edited from http://memoriediangelina.blogspot.com/