How to Make a Great Cheese Fondue

Is your fondue set left overlooked in the depths of a kitchen cupboard because you’ve run out of recipes or just plain forgotten that it’s there? Be inspired to make that fondue the centre of attention with these ideas!

Alpine Cheese Fondue

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 150ml dry cider or dry white wine
  • 150ml milk or single cream
  • 225g Gruyere cheese, diced or grated
  • 1 liqueur glass of brandy or Kirsch
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 French stick or similar, crusty loaf, heated in the oven.

Rub the inside of your fondue pot (or flameproof dish) with the garlic and then discard the garlic. Cook the cheese and milk together over a very low heat and stir the whole time with a wooden spoon until the cheese melts and the mixture becomes creamy. Slowly add the wine, brandy and seasoning.

Continue to heat the mixture but don’t allow it to boil. Cut the bread into cubes about 2.5cm square and serve with the fondue. Use long-handled forks to dunk the bread cubes into your cheese mixture.

Shellfish and Emmenthal Fondue

Ingredients and Method in Three Parts

Part One
  • 275g diced or flaked cooked shellfish
  • 75ml dry white wine or vermouth
  • 25g butter
  • 2 shallots or 4 salad onions
  • A few chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Use a small frying pan or saucepan to cook the shallots or onions in the butter over a low heat. Takes about 2-3 minutes. Add the shellfish and heat through gently for another couple of minutes. Now add the wine or vermouth and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer gently for about 60 seconds then remove the lid and turn up the heat to bring your wine to the boil, then, keep it boiling until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat add the chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper.

Part Two
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml boiling milk
  • 1 fish stock cube

In another saucepan, heat the butter and add the flour. Cook slowly and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the stock cube and boiling milk. Return to the heat and boil rapidly for one minute, stir the whole time. Turn down heat.

Part Three

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60ml single cream
  • 25g diced Emmenthal

Beat together the egg yolk and cream. Add the milk and fish stock sauce to the beaten egg and cream mixture a little at a time. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil until the sauce is very thick but smooth.

Now it’s time to put it all together!

Gradually fold the shellfish mixture, then the cheese, into the sauce. Transfer the finished fondue mixture to your fondue pot and serve immediately with crusty bread of your choice. Variation: Instead of shellfish, try this with 225g of cooked ham, turkey, chicken or game.

If you’re undecided about what to serve with your savoury fondue, try a selection of pickled vegetables, raw or blanched vegetables, chopped chillies in olive oil, a crisp green salad and plain boiled new potatoes.

Another unusual but delicious accompaniment – especially with a plain cheese fondue – is hot vegetable samosas with fresh lime! The crisp spiciness of samosas and acidic kick of lime juice slice through the creaminess of fondue. An odd couple, maybe, but what flavours!

Have fun getting fonder of your fondue.

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