In addition to simmered dishes and winter gratins, the winter season brings with it a gourmet and friendly tradition: cheese fondue. This emblematic dish of the French mountains, originating from the canton of Friborg in Switzerland, is much more than just a meal, it is an experience to share with friends or family. However, to guarantee the success of this experience, certain rules must be respected when preparing your cheese fondue.
The choice of ingredients
The success of a cheese fondue depends largely on the quality of the cheeses used. Although several recipes exist, traditionally, we opt for pressed cheeses. For a Savoyard fondue, choose the trio of abundance, beaufort and emmental. For a Swiss fondue or half-and-half, choose Swiss Gruyère and Friborg Vacherin. Other options exist such as Comté, Tomme or even raclette cheese.
The White wine
Dry white wine is the ally of cheese fondue. Choose a quality wine, preferably from the region of the chosen cheeses. Savoie wines such as Roussette de Savoie, Chardonnay de Savoie or Crépy Blanc are perfect. Riesling or Pinot Gris are also very good choices. For more lightness, some dare to have fondue with champagne or even beer.
Preparing the cheese fondue
The fondue pot
Before starting the preparation, rub the inside of the fondue pot with a clove of garlic cut in half. This will add a subtle fragrant touch to your cheese fondue.
The perfect texture
To obtain a creamy and homogeneous texture, melt the cheeses over low heat. Stir constantly in a figure 8 motion to ensure even melting and prevent the fondue from separating. Potato starch, diluted in a little water, is the ideal ingredient to obtain the perfect consistency of your cheese fondue. Be sure to incorporate it gradually while continuing to stir. Little tip: add a spoonful of baking soda to your preparation for a more foamy texture.
The cheese fondue is eaten with pieces of bread cut into cubes of approximately 2 centimeters. The baguette should be avoided, instead choose a bread with a lot of crust and a dense crumb like country bread. Day-old bread is ideal. In fact, it is better to avoid bread that is too fresh at the risk of it falling apart in the cheese. The same goes for breads with seeds or dried fruits which could also come loose easily and fall to the bottom of your fondue pot. Don’t hesitate to add potatoes, pickles and cold meats for more deliciousness.
Flavor your cheese fondue
For those who like spicy dishes, spices such as pepper, nutmeg, paprika or even chilli can be added to cheese fondue.
Typical of the Valais region of Switzerland, here is a creative variation on the traditional cheese fondue. To make it, add crushed tomatoes and raclette cheese, preferably grated, to your initial preparation.
Porcini mushroom fondue
You can also add porcini mushrooms to your cheese fondue. Choose dehydrated porcini mushrooms and soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes. As porcini mushrooms are very fragrant, be careful not to add too much so as not to cover the taste of your cheeses.