Fondue – When a Dip is Pure Magic

FondueAlthough the Swiss have named fondue their national dish, like the Alps, they share it with the Italians and the French. The essence of fondue is the pot of cheese melted over a portable stove. Using long-stemmed forks, diners dip pieces of bread into the cheese. It is a singularly magical food, simple and yet sophisticated.

The Origins of Fondue

A recipe for fondue in its current format was first published in 1877. The dish was generally made with wine and cheeses like Gruyère or Gouda, a combination that did not always stay creamy and stable until 1905, when cornstarch was introduced as an ingredient.

In the 1930s, the Swiss Cheese Union pushed fondue into popularity to increase the consumption of Swiss cheese. This marketing strategy continued during World War II and after, when fondue sets were sent to military regiments in the field. After the war, the fondue became a well-loved dish during dinners and special events.

Making Fondue for your Table

Swiss fondue is a fairly simple dish in that it only consists of cheese, wine, and seasoning. To make fondue good for four persons, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck in his Gouda Cheese Fondue recipe suggests the following:

“… one large clove of garlic, cut in half lengthwise, half a cup of white wine, five ounces of shredded fresh Gouda or Mozarella, five ounces of shredded aged Gouda, a tablespoon of cornstarch, two tablespoons of Kirsch, grated nutmeg and freshly ground pepper (to taste), a baguette (cut in two inch cubes), vegetables, cooked meats, and salami cut in bite-sized pieces.”

He uses the following procedure:

Rub the bottom of a medium saucepan with the sliced garlic. Put the pan over high heat and immediately add the wine, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve the garlic residue. In a small bowl, toss together the two cheeses and the cornstarch. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese mixture. Stir continuously until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the Kirsch and season with black pepper and nutmeg.” He advises that the dish be served immediately, together with the foods to be dipped in it.

The Fondue Rituals 

Eating fondue is potentially messy, but the Swiss and the French have devised ways to share it with the necessary amount of refinement. As host, you need to make sure that the pieces of bread, vegetables or meat to be dipped are bite-sized and all your guests have long-stemmed forks for dipping. This precludes the need to double-dip – considered an unforgivable lapse of manners.

Bon Apetit shares a few tips on How to Eat Cheese Fondue the Proper Swiss/French Way by advising diners to:

“…Twirl, twirl, twirl: Keep the table tidy by twirling those drips, drabs, and flyaway strands of melted cheese around your cube of bread.

The article also mentions that diners should “Sip only white wine, kirsch, or a tisane of herbal tea with your fondue meal. According to Swiss lore, any other drink—be it water, juice, or beer—will cause the melted cheese to coagulate and form a giant ball in your stomach, leaving you with debilitating indigestion. Yes, it sounds silly, but do you really want to risk it?”

Fondue can be enjoyed in many ways: as a warm dish on chilly nights, as a shared delight for intimate meals or as a best seller in big parties. So, get your fondue sets out and get ready for a menu item that encourages fun, good conversation, and genteel bonding.

Please like & share:

Speak Your Mind


© 2009 - Vinfo Pty Ltd. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our
Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions and Earnings Disclaimer.