Cheese Fondue

I don't have any idea how a traditional Swiss dish,  perfect for cold climates,  ended up being one of Brazil's favourite winter treats.   Right here where temperatures won't go much lower than 15C (60F) the chocolate and cheese versions of this dish are so popular that during winter, packaged versions of it appear in every supermarket aisle and people gather to consume the treat with a lot of wine.

The thing is, people here are very sociable and "making a fondue" at home ends up being a major social gathering.    Pun totally intended, pretty cheesy (but fun) ones :-)

In a time before internet, I found a Cheese Fondue recipe in my auntie's French studies book and I have been using since then.   It is not much different from any version you will find on the internet,  basically cheese, wine and some seasoning.   Except for the Kirsch (cherry brandy), ingredients are not too hard to find.    My rebellion touch is a pinch of Fresh rosemary,  unexpected trick learned during a trip to Venezuela.

My only points of attention here are first about the temperature:   don't even think about melting the cheese in the microwave!  You might be thinking, "of course not, what are you thinking about your readers!", well I had a couple of friends that did that after I gave them this recipe so in my defence that's a valid concern.   Cheese has to be melted nicely, over medium heat and constantly stirring so it won't go grainy and the fat does not split.    

Second point of attention is the gear.   For serving the fondue you need a Rechaud with a burner.   Literally Rechaud means "re heat" and that is exactly what it will be doing, keeping the cheese mixture warm and nicely melted.      Personally I don't like the electric ones,  they are just not as much fun and candle ones are just not efficient.   My advice is go for a alcohol burner one with a ceramic pot.    

Still about the pot,  the fondue is first cooked on the stove top and then transferred to the Rechaud burner.   Some ceramic pots are stove pot safe (never the cheap ones :-S) but many ceramic pots cannot go directly to the stove top (unless you have a diffuser), they will crack and break.   Personally I lost a few pots like this  so what I do is:   I prepare the fondue in a regular saucepan, without the garlic, rub the garlic inside my fondue ceramic pot and when the cheese is melted I transfer the Fondue to the proper fondue pot, over the fondue burner.  

Here are some of my Rechaud picks on Amazon (affiliate links):



Fondue can be served with pieces of crusty bread,  cauliflower, large cubes of ham or whatever your imagination conjures up.

Have fun!
Rachel

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Cheese Fondue 

Serves: 4  |  Costs: $$$ |  Difficulty: Easy |  Time: 20min
Author: Classic

Ingredients

  • 400g (14oz) Emmental grated
  • 200g (7oz) Gruyère  grated
  • 1 1/4 cups Dry white wine, my choice is Riesling 
  • 1 Tablespoon Kirsch (if you can find it) 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic slightly crushed 
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves (optional, my special touch)

Instructions

  1. Mix the cheese and the corn flour in a bowl
  2. Rub the crushed garlic all over the pot you will use to serve the fondue
  3. Transfer the cheese and corn flour mixture to the fondue pot or a sauce pan (see text) 
  4. Add the white wine 
  5. Stir in the rosemary, nutmeg and the black pepper
  6. On the stove top, heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth
  7. Transfer the Fondue to the pot you will be serving or just transfer the pot to the rechaud with the burner lit
  8. Serve immediately 

Rachel Elich

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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