A foolproof cheese fondue
If you’re making a dish as simple as fondue you need to use top quality cheese. Emmental and Gruyère are traditional but once you’ve got the hang of it you can play around with other alternatives.
425g finely sliced or coarsely grated cheese, with rinds removed
150g Gruyère or Comté,150g Beaufort and 125g Emmental or 225g Gruyère and 200g Emmental - i.e. 425g in all
2 tsp potato flour or cornflour
1 clove of garlic, halved
175ml very dry white wine (e.g. Muscadet)
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper
Small bite-sized chunks of sourdough, pain de campagne or ciabatta to serve
You will also need a cast iron fondue pan and burner
Toss the sliced or grated cheese with the cornflour. Leave until it comes to room temperature. Rub the inside of the pan with the cut garlic. Start off the fondue on your cooker. Pour in the wine and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and tip in about a third of the cheese. Keep breaking up the cheese with a wooden spoon using a zig-zag motion as if you were using a wire whisk. (Stirring it round and round as you do with a sauce makes it more likely that the cheese will separate from the liquid).
Once the cheese has begun to melt return it over a very low heat, stirring continuously. Gradually add the remaining cheese until you have a smooth, thick mass. (This takes about 10 minutes, less with practice.) If it seems too thick add some more hot wine. Add the kirsch, if you have some and season with nutmeg and pepper. Place over your fondue burner and serve with small bite-size chunks of sourdough or country bread. Use long fondue forks to dip the bread in, stirring the fondue to prevent it solidifying.
Suggested wine match: The one thing not to drink with a fondue, I was once told by a Swiss chef, is iced water. It coagulates with the cheese in your stomach and gives you chronic indigestion! Full bodied reds can also be an uncomfortable match. The best choice I've found is a crisp dry white like a Swiss Chasselas or Chignin or Roussette from Savoie. You could also drink a young grüner veltliner.
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