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Fondue is Fun for Everyone!

Is cheese the best thing in the world? We think so, and you should to! Do you know why cheese is so amazing? Apart from the obvious, that it tastes great and is a healthy snack, cheese is amazing because it’s so very versatile! Served hot or cold, sliced, baked, shredded or grated, cheese takes on a life of its own whether the star of a dish or simply an accompaniment to a sumptuously laid our charcuterie tray. It’s why Fromage, your local fine cheese and gourmet food boutique located in Orangeville Ontario, is now blogging regularly about “all things cheese.”

We were going to call our blog “The Cheese Chronicles,” but thought that might be kind of cheesy! (we couldn’t resist) so instead, we just invite you to stay tuned for regular updates from the cheese world and encourage you to stop by our beautiful little fromagerie on Broadway the next time your in Town. As for today – we bring you the tale of fondue, a classic that’s enjoying a bit of a resurgence right now, and rightly so! Fondue is no longer a throwback to the 70’s but a tasty and timely reminder of the versatility of cheese. It’s time to dust off your fondue pot and learn how a fine fondue is fabulous for any occasion!

As a purveyor of fine cheeses, we love to share recipes with our clients, many of whom have come to rely on us for advice on how best to serve various types of cheese, how to appeal to different guests and their culinary preferences or dietary needs and even what cheese is best for gift giving or pairs well with meat on a charcuterie board. Often, that means we’ll be sharing one of our best and tastiest recipes with those same customers and now we’d like to proudly share our expertise with readers too.  As mentioned in our first paragraph, Fondue is a classic. It makes for a tried and true (and tasty) way to feed a multitude of guests using a variety of foods for dipping. Of course, some of you might be thinking fondue is a little old school, or maybe – like Frankie from Grace and Frankie on Netflix - perhaps you’re obsessed both with fondue and the beautiful and colourful array of pots to serve it from. Wherever you are in the great fondue debate, we’re here to remind you of its classic roots and why it’s an ideal party pleasing pot of cheesy goodness.*(1)

Fondue dates back at least as far as the late 1800’s and has roots in the Rone-Alps region near Geneva. That’s in Switzerland of course, perhaps one of the reasons it was often referred to as a “Swiss Fondue” in its heyday. While most folks of a “certain age” know fondue to be a party treat or indulgence, the history of fondue is far more pedestrian. It was actually often used as an ideal way to feed families who had limited access to fresh foods in the winter and it represented an opportunity to use up aged cheeses, smaller “end pieces” and aged or stale bread too. It represented a gathering point for families as they sat around the hearth sharing this simple meal together. Fondue has also proved popular as an excellent repast for skiers enjoying a day on the slopes due to its being hearty, warm and filling. In the 1930’s, fondue enjoyed a surge in popularity in part due to the Swiss Cheese Union ( a marketing and trade organization) declaring it the country’s National Dish although some have suggested this was merely a ploy to increase the consumption of cheese. As far as the team at Fromage is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with that!

With all this talk of melted cheese, you might be feeling like a fondue is in your future. If it is, it might be time to visit Fromage. We have literally hundreds of cheeses from around the world, hard and soft, bold and with a bite. For the perfect fondue however, all you really need is some Gruyere, some Emmenthal and of course, some alcohol! We are happy to share this tried and true classic from my Aunt who lives in Zurich where it’s considered a traditional fondue recipe. Enjoy it with kirsch, white wine or an herbal tea – more on that in a moment!*(2)

Classic Swiss Fondue

Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 475 grams Gruyere
  • 165 grams Emmenthal
  • 135 grams Appenzeller – don’t know what this is? Ask us, we can help!
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ cups white wine
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Kirsch

What to do:

1. Shred all three cheeses and mix together in a bowl with cornstarch
2. Transfer ingredients to a pot, set over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and white wine to the cheese mixture. Continually stir the mixture in a figure 8 until all the cheeses are melted. This motion helps keep the cheese from getting stringy.
3. Once melted stir in the kirsch.
4. Take the cut side of the clove of garlic and rub the inside of the fondue pot.
5. Add melted cheese, and enjoy with bread, potatoes and vegetables.

There you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about fondue and melted cheese! Who knew stirring in a figure 8 would prevent fondue from getting stringy? Now you know. Stay tuned for more fabulous fables from Fromage, your Fine Cheese and Gourmet Food Boutique!

(1)*Of course, a great fondue, like a great party – is worth waiting for! All of our tips and suggestions contained in today’s blog are “best served” when the pandemic ends and we’re able to gather safely again, together as friends!
(2)*Kirsch is a “clear, colourless Brandy made from morello cherries.” It contains no added sugar and because the cherry stones are included in the making of kirsch, it takes on a slightly almond taste. Legend has it that one must only drink kirsch, herbal teas or white wine while enjoying fondue in order to avoid the cheese gathering together in your belly, forming a ball and ensuring a bad case of indigestion!