Traditional Swiss Fondue like The Melting Pot is a dish that reminds you of one of the most romantic restaurants you can go to. You can recreate this fondue at home.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you can go to The Melting Pot, I can’t recommend it enough. It is one of those fancy places you go when you want to impress someone, or really treat those that you love. If you are like many of us, these are hard to get to, and well honestly they may be quite impossible. You can enjoy fondue just like they make it. You don’t even need a fondue pot, you could use a double boiler, or cook the fondue in a small pan over low heat, and keep it warm in a mini crock pot. I personally love my Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker, I have made a lot of fondue in this pot.
What I didn’t know is that fondue has its origins as a peasant food of the people of the Alpine Swiss, but is now very well known, and made in a wide variety of styles and with many different ingredients. The traditional version which this recipe uses is made with Emmenthaler and Gruyere. You could experiment with any types of cheeses that you desire. You can typically find these two types of cheeses in the deli section of your grocery store. Emmenthaler has a piquant flavor, but it isn’t very sharp. Gruyere has a sweet and slightly salty flavor that becomes more complex with age. We will use white wine for this fondue.
When choosing the type of wine to use, I suggest something dry and well white. You do not want to use something sweet because it is going to change the flavor of this fondue. If you have never had fondue before it has a soft texture that is a little nutty, and savory. I would suggest something that is drinkable. It doesn’t have to be the best bottle of white wine you will ever consume, but it needs to be ok. Please, don’t buy the stuff labeled “Cooking Wine”, I am not sure what it is for, but it isn’t drinkable as wine, and it shouldn’t be for cooking. If you need help, most grocery stores, and wine shops can help you, I wouldn’t pay over 10 dollars a bottle for this, the Trader Joes “Two Buck Chuck” would be perfect.
Whether it is Swiss Fondue or any other type, there is a basic preparation that you should follow. You always want to begin by heating your liquid, most often this liquid is a form of alcohol. Add in your aromatics, and heat thoroughly. Next, you will add 1/3 to 1/2 of the cheese, and cook until stir until the cheese has melted. Finally, you will add the remaining cheese stirring constantly in a circular motion. The fondue should end up with the consistency of honey.
What to do if your Fondue gets lumpy
Fondue can become lumpy if it is overheated. You can rescue it. When cheese is heated in the presence of acid you need to be extra careful. Cornstarch helps to buffer this reaction. What to do? Add a couple of tablespoons of warm alcohol. Stir, and turn down the heat to low. If the alcohol and the cheese continue to be separate from each other, you can add about 1/2 a teaspoon of cornstarch and stir, this should make the fondue texture much more seamless.
Love Fondue? Be sure to check out these favorite fondue recipes
The Melting Pot's Traditional Swiss Fondue
- 4 ounces dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/2 pound Emmenthaler cheese grated
- 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese grated
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce cherry liqueur like Kirshwasser (optional)
- In your fondue pot heat together dry white wine and garlic. In a large bowl combine cheeses and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the cheese and mix together. Add lemon juice to white wine mixture.
- When the garlic becomes fragrant add 1/3 of the cheese to the fondue pot and stir in cheese. When this cheese has melted add an additional 1/3 of the cheese and stir until melted.
- Add remaining amount of cheese. Stir and blend until the cheese has the texture of honey. Before serving add some fresh cracked black pepper and 1-ounce cherry-flavored liqueur like Kirshwasser (optional).
- It is important to watch the temperature of your fondue pot. Overheating the mixture may make the cheese clump. Should your cheese start to clump, add a splash of warm wine, and reduce the temperature of the fondue pot.
- Serve with crusty bread, raw broccoli flowerettes, raw baby-cut carrots, or anything else you might like to dip.