Fondue means melted sauce in French. As a dish it is melted served in a deep little pot placed over a heat source to keep the cheese molten. Bread cubes are dipped into the communal pot using long-handled forks. Tradition has it that if you drop your bread into the dish, you must buy the next bottle of wine or kiss your partner. This makes eating fondue lots of fun.
Adding a touch of lemon juice keeps the cheese from being too stringy. You can also add a dash or so of mustard to perk it up. Dredging the cheese either in flour or cornstarch before it is added to the wine helps keep the cheese in the fondue emulsified. If you like, the garlic clove may be left in the pot.
As for the dipping medium, bread cubes are traditional. I like French baguettes, but pumpernickel and rye are also good, as are steamed vegetables
1 clove garlic, cut in half
2 cups dry white wine, such as Alsatian Riesling or Gewürztraminer
1 pound Gruyère, shredded (4 cups)
1 pound Emmentaler, shredded (4 cups)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons kirsch
Freshly grated black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Bread cubes and/or steamed vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower
Rub the interior of the fondue or flameproof ceramic pot with garlic and leave it in the pot.
Place the pot over medium heat and add the wine. Heat until it is very hot and almost, but not quite boiling. In the meantime, toss the cheeses together with the cornstarch. Begin adding the cheese to the wine, one handful at a time. Stir vigorously until the cheese melts. Continue adding the cheese gradually and stirring vigorously. When all of the cheese has been added, adjust the thickness by adding additional cheese, if too thin, and additional wine, if too thick. Pour the kirsch and lemon juice and stir well. Grate the pepper and nutmeg into fondue, to taste.
Remove the fondue pot from the stove and place on stand over heat at the table. The heat source, sterno, electric, or candle, should keep the fondue hot, almost simmering.
Serve with cubed bread and/or steamed vegetables that are traditionally dipped into the fondue pot using long-handled forks.
Makes 6 entrée servings
A combination of 8 ounces Gruyère, 8 ounces Appenzell, and 1 pound of Emmental may also be used. Combine and add the first 2 cheeses and then add the Emmental.