Cheese Lovers listen up! Here comes an original Swiss Cheese fondue receipe. I will explain what kind of equipment you will need, what to shop – including alternative suggestions – and how to prepare the cheese fondue.
The most important piece of equipment that you will need is the pan. In Switzerland we use ceramic pans called Caquelon, but you can also use other pans or pots as long as the heat is spread evenly. Regular steel pots are not ideal, but e.g. heavy steel pots (Le Creuset, Staub) or any other creamic pots that have a flat bottom will do. However, they have to be heat resistant. If you can put it on your stove directly it’s okay.
Once the fondue is ready to serve you will need a heater, like for meat fondue, to keep the cheese hot and liquid while eating.
Ideally you have long forks, like those above. It makes Fondue-life a lot easier.
Let’s get the shopping list right:
plan 200 g per person
Only buy hard cheese, soft cheese -like camenbert- will not work. Ask the shop assistant to grind it for you. It doesn’t need to be super-fine, rather flakey (see picture above). If they don’t do it at the shop, you can also do it yourself at home. Remember: good cheese makes good fondue, bad cheese makes bad fondue. The stronger the taste, the stronger the fondue. If you don’t get Swiss cheese try different local hard cheeses of good quality.
Traditional Swiss cheese types used for fondue are: Gryere, Vacherin, Emmentaler, Appenzeller – mixed in many different variations
Starch: you will need for every 400 g cheese a tablespoon of starch, we use corn starch
Garlic: minmum one glove, or as many as you like
White wine: we use a local Swiss wine called Fondant. It is made from Chasselas grapes. However, you can also use other dry white wine.
Cherry Schnaps: a small amount of cherry schnaps gives a special flavor to the fondue. I would not go for any other kind of schnaps instead.
Bread: Use some kind of farmers bread, but no whole grain. Ideally, it has a nice crust and is a bit more rustic. Toast bread is not good for fondue, but French baguette or even chiabatta may work, if you cannot get anything similar to the one on the picture above.
In addition, you may want to try pears and apples. Try it out. It is delicious.
Spices: Nutmeg, pepper, Paprika
Ready? Let’s rock:
- Take the pan and rub it with fresh garlic . Very simple, just rub it all over until it smells.
- Dissolve the starch in a small amount of cherry schnaps. A regular shot glass will do.
- Take all cheese, more sliced up garlic, the starch-schnapps mix and 1 dl of white wine per 200g cheese and mix everyting together in the pan.
- Heat up the pan.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Keep on stirring! Don’t walk away to do something else. Stay there and stir the pan until the fondue is ready. If you walk away, the risk is high that you will come back and see a big lump of cheese in your pan. When that happens, it is time to call the pizza service. There is no way to recover. You can just throw it away. So, don’t forget: Keep on stirring, no matter what!
- The fondue is ready when the cheese entirely melted and the fondue is bubbling. Thanks to the starch the consistency is creamy and the surface looks somewhat silky.
- Ready to serve!
How do I prepare the table?
- Cut the bread into bite-size chunks and serve it in a big bowl.
- Slice the pears and apples. Not too thin, just so you can put them on the fork and dip into the cheese.
- Some people drink mild black tea with the fondue, I prefer white wine.
- Shot glasses for extra cherry schnaps
In order to vary the taste, you dip your bread first into cherry schnaps and then into the fondue. Or you prepare a mix of spices on your plate and dip your bread first there and then into the fondue.
Once you get to the bottom, don’t forget to scratch off the crust. It is sooo good.
One last piece of advice. Clean the pot, plate and forks by hand with soap and cold water. In hot water the cheese melts again and you dishwasher will be subject to desaster.