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All about fondue

There's barely a dish in the world that's as closely associated with family, friends, good times and socializing as the traditional Swiss cheese fondue. It has a uniquely delicious taste and is no longer reserved just for the colder months – yet many people are too afraid of failure to make it themselves. Fear not – making your own fondue is actually quite simple. Particularly if you keep the following in mind before embarking upon the perfect cheese fondue.

It's all in the mix

Gruyère, Vacherin and Emmentaler are all suitable for making cheese fondue. Depending on the region, you can also use Appenzeller, Tilsiter or Sbrinz. It's important to remember that half of the cheese should be relatively spicy and mature, while the other half should be more mild and creamy. The cheese should also be fresh and contain at least 45% fat, otherwise the fondue won't be thick and creamy enough. Traditionally, garlic, pepper and nutmeg are used to season the cheese mixture. Onion, cumin, paprika, green pepper and curry powder can also be used to give the fondue a special twist.

Recommended quantities and important additions

You should allow 200 grams of grated cheese and 100 ml of dry, slightly acidic white wine per person. The wine should be the same temperature as the cheese before the two are combined and heated. For every 800 grams of cheese – based on fondue for four – you should add one tablespoon of cornflour. The cornflour helps to bind the cheese and wine together. To make an alcohol-free fondue, simply replace the white wine with apple juice.

A little patience and a good stir

To begin with, place the grated cheese and white wine in a fondue pot and melt on a low heat for around 20 minutes. The mixture must be stirred continuously to prevent it from burning. Dissolve the cornflour in a little white wine (or lemon juice) and add it to the mixture once the cheese has melted. Bring everything to the boil and season to taste. As soon as the fondue has been transferred to the table, keep it on a gentle simmer on a burner. Don't forget to keep stirring!

What if it goes wrong?

It's more than likely you'll hit one or two "typical" snags when preparing fondue. Some are more serious than others. Here's how to resolve the most common problems:
The fondue isn't binding together properly
Dissolve a little more cornflour in some white wine or lemon juice, stir it vigorously into the fondue mixture and briefly return to the boil. This will ensure the fondue binds together properly.
The fondue is too thin
An extra handful of grated cheese – combined with a little extra dissolved cornflour, if necessary – will give the fondue a thicker and more creamy consistency.
The fondue is too thick
Carefully adding a little more white wine while stirring vigorously will make the fondue thinner.

Bread and other accompaniments

Air-dried meat, Mostbröckli or cured ham make a great starter before a fondue. Vegetables with dips or a fresh salad are also a great choice.
Fondue is served with bread cut into bite-sized cubes (2 x 2 cm). You will need around half a kilo of bread for four people. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for semi-white or wholemeal. The bread should be 1-2 days old rather than fresh so that it is less likely to fall off your fork when you stir it in the fondue. Of course, you can also choose another type of bread. Fondue is usually only accompanied by bread. You can dip the bread in a glass of Kirsch or grappa before stirring it in the cheese. In addition to bread, you can also serve a few carefully selected accompaniments such as potatoes and other vegetables.
Fondue is best followed by a light, fresh dessert such as ice cream, sorbet or fresh fruit salad.

Fondue will make you thirsty

Fondue is generally accompanied by a relatively light, young wine that is not overly dominant or aromatic. Whether you go for red or white doesn't really matter these days – selecting the right wine will ultimately depend on your choice of cheese and personal preference. If you want a classic fondue wine, we can recommend the Fendant, Epesses or Aigle, and the non-alcoholic alternative is traditionally a weak black tea.

Summary: Practice makes the perfect fondue

With a little practice and experience, you'll soon figure out the optimum blend of cheese, wine and cornflour – then you can allow your creativity free reign. From the cheese and bread to the other accompaniments and drinks – you can prepare your fondue just as you like it! Whether you're looking for some traditional inspiration or something more modern, you'll find lots of great fondue ideas here. And if you don't have the time or inclination to make your own fondue, you're in luck because there's a whole host of delicious ready-made mixes out there. Whatever you decide, one thing's for sure – fondue is a fabulous dish that guarantees a feel-good vibe!