Foolproof Fondue: How To Do The 'Due
Here are some tips for how to make the most out of this decadent treat:
- Hard and semihard cheeses—such as Gruyère, Emmental, fontina, and cheddar—tend to work best. (If there's a mountain range or a man in suspenders on the label, it's a good sign.) Combining two or three cheeses makes for a more interesting flavor, allows you to balance strong-flavored cheeses (like Gruyère) with milder ones (like fontina), and makes more-expensive cheeses stretch further.
- It's tough to wait, but cheese needs to be heated slowly to avoid scorching. Shred or chop it into tiny pieces to speed melting, and add a bit at a time until the mixture is the consistency of a creamy sauce.
- If your fondue gets too thick, increase heat slightly, add a splash of white wine or lemon juice, and stir. If it gets too thin, decrease the heat and add more cheese. If it begins separating, raise the heat and whisk it back together, or add a little cornstarch (it and flour act as binders, keeping fondue from separating back into liquid and semisolids).
- Most cheese fondue recipes include wine, whose acidity helps make the cheese smooth by preventing the proteins from clumping together. If you want an alcohol-free option, look for recipes that substitute lemon juice.
Fun Fondue Facts
In Swiss tradition, if a man loses a piece of bread in the fondue pot, he must buy the table a bottle of wine. If a woman does it, she must kiss the man next to her. (Maybe this accounts for fondue's popularity in the '70s.)
Chocolate fondue was invented not in Switzerland but in New York in the mid-1960s. To be fair, it was a Swiss restaurateur (Konrad Egli) at his Chalet Suisse restaurant as part of a promotion for Swiss chocolate (Toblerone).
The crust left at the bottom of the cheese fondue pot— known as the religieuse in honor of nuns who wore several layers of clothing, called "crusts"—is considered a delicacy. Scrape it out with a fork after you've turned off the heat and divide it among your guests.
Check out our most popular cheese fondue recipe.
Cheese isn't the only thing you can dip into for a fondue feast. Create a dessert fondue with skewered bits of fruit, brownies, and marshmallows dipped into melted chocolate. Dip meats and vegetables into hot oil, simmering broth, or even boiling wine for a communal one-pot meal. Here are some tasty fondue ideas to try.
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