Artisanal Cheese Fondue

In Switzerland, cheese fondue is a treat enjoyed frequently with families and friends, and several interesting customs have evolved to enhance the fun of this communal dining experience. One custom requires a woman to kiss her dining companions if she loses her bread cube in the fondue pot, while another suggests that a man who drops his bread cube must buy a round of drinks for the table. Your next fondue party is a great excuse to make up your own traditions. Serves 4.


1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups Riesling wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Kirsch (clear cherry brandy) or brandy
3/4 pound grated Bardwell Rupert cheese, Gruyère or other Swiss style cheese (about 3 cups)
3/4 pound Emmental or Appenzeller, or other Alpine style cheese (about 3 cups)
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper

For dipping: cubes of crusty, hearty, bread (1 large loaf)

  1. Rub the inside of a large heavy saucepan with garlic.  Add the wine and bring just to a simmer.
  2. In a small dish, combine the cornstarch and Kirsch.
  3. Gradually add the cheese to the wine mixture, stirring constantly until the cheese melts.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a simmer.  Season with a few grates of nutmeg and twists of pepper.  Transfer to a fondue pot for serving.  Keep warm and stir often.

NOTE: It’s much easier to make the fondue on the stove top where the heat can be adjusted and then transfer it to a fondue pot to keep warm and serve.

Fruit and vegetable variation: Slices of apple or pear and steamed fingerling potatoes, broccoli spears and cauliflower florets are all delicious when dipped in cheese fondue.

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