This classic cheese fondue recipe is a Swiss dish that consists of Emmental and Gruyère cheese melted in a pot where you use a variety of dippers like bread, fruit and vegetables to dip in the cheese and eat.
Did you ever wonder how cheese fondue originated? Neither did I until I started writing this post, but curiosity got the best of me. It was actually popularized as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese union in 1930s to increase the consumption of cheese. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually needed a reason to increase my consumption of cheese, but I’m still happy I have enjoyed cheese fondue over the years.
For me and probably most people in the US, my first time having cheese fondue occurred at The Melting Pot. I feel like The Melting Pot pretty much has a monopoly on fondue. I’ve seen some restaurants here and there offer fondue, but for most (myself among them), if you’re craving fondue you go to The Melting Pot. I loved it so much, that we went for my birthday from ages 6-18 probably 10 times. Yes there were a couple of times we didn’t go, but my birthday usually consisted of fondue. Yes I admit I was an expensive child! And that’s the problem with The Melting Pot cheese fondue- it can be quite pricey, especially if you’re going for a full meal.
So today I figured I’d introduce my own version of a classic cheese fondue, which while still a little pricey to get all the ingredients – is way cheaper than going out. So why am I calling this recipe a classic cheese fondue? Well because the two cheeses consists of Emmental and Gruyère, which were the original cheeses used in fondue. Yes there are a variety of cheeses you can use these days, but if you want the original, this is it.
Oh and I might be posting this because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s really the perfect appetizer or even main course to enjoy with your significant other. You might even go all out and make some chocolate fondue as well.
What Ingredients are in this Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe?
- Good dry white wine
- Emmental cheese
- Gruyère cheese
- Lemon juice
- Dippers (bread, fruit, vegetables)
Tips for Good Fondue
- Use quality cheese: it will be more expensive but worth it as fondue is all about the cheese and what you choose will impact the final product.
- Grate the cheese: to get a smooth fondue that melts well, you need to grate the cheese, not chop. If you are feeling lazy, you can use the grater blade of your food processor.
- Add cheese slowly: you can’t just add cheese all at once or it won’t melt and will form clumps. It’s important to stir in a zigzag pattern as well to prevent clumping.
- Use quality wine: the old saying when you use wine in cooking is to use a wine that you would drink. Don’t go cheap on a $5 bottle if you don’t want to drink it. The wine adds flavor as well. But if you’re in a pinch, you can use chicken or vegetable stock.
What to Dip in Cheese Fondue?
It’s really your call on what to dip but the best dippers are crusty bread, fruits like apples and pears and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
What is the Best Wine for Fondue?
A good, dry white wine that you’d want to drink is best. Something that is high in acid like a Sauvignon Blanc works great.
Best Cheese for Fondue?
You want a cheese that melts well. This is called a classic cheese fondue for a reason as Emmental and Gruyère are what you typically see in a traditional fondue as they have the right melting point. But if you want something different, you could use fontina or gouda. Or if you really want to mix it up you can do a cheddar and beer fondue.
Other Appetizer Ideas
- Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Fig Jam
- Skillet Nachos
- Pizza Pretzels
- Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese
- Corn Mango Salsa
Classic Cheese Fondue
- 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 lb Emmental cheese, grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 lb Gruyère cheese, grated (2 cups)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Dippers (cubes of French bread, apples, pears, peppers, blanched broccoli, etc...)
- Rub inside of heavy pot or saucepan with cut sides of garlic, then discard the garlic. Add wine and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.
- Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern to prevent cheese from balling up. Do this until cheese is just melted and creamy, but do not let boil.
- Stir together cornstarch, brandy and lemon juice and stir into fondue. Add ground nutmeg. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook or fondue will get stringy. Transfer to a fondue pot set over a flame.