A really good cheese fondue
It may be retro, it may be kitsch but nothing beats a fondue when there's snow on the. ground.
January is classic fondue weather, especially when there’s snow on the ground. Here’s the recipe from my book Wine Lover’s Kitchen inspired by famous London cheesemonger Patricia Michelson of La Fromagerie (her tip about using a figure of eight motion to stir it is invaluable).
The other tip is to use good cheese. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s worth it.
425g/7 cups finely sliced or coarsely grated cheese with rinds removed such as 150g/1 1/3 cups each of Gruyère or Comté, Beaufort and Emmental or 225g/2 cups Gruyère and 200g/1 2/3 cups/Emmental
2 tsp potato four or cornflour/cornstarch
1 garlic clove, halved
175ml/3/4 cup Muscadet, pinot grigio or other dry white wine
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper
Sourdough, pain de campagne or a good sourdough baguette to serve
You ideally need a cast iron fondue pan and burner but if needs must and you desperately need a fondue fix make it in a small cast iron casserole and warm it up from time to time as it cools
Toss the sliced or grated cheese with the flour. Set aside until it comes to room temperature.
Rub the inside of the pan with the cut garlic. Start off the fondue on your hob. Pour in the wine and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and tip in about one third of the cheese. Keep breaking up the cheese with a wooden spoon using a figure of eight motion. (Stirring it round and round as you do with a sauce makes it more likely that the cheese will separate from the wine)
Once the cheese has begun to melt return it to a very low heat, stirring continuously. Gradually add the remaining cheese until you have a smooth, unctuous mass (this takes about 10 minutes, less with practice). If it seems too thick add some more hot wine. Add the kirsch if using and season with nutmeg and pepper
Place over your fondue burner and serve with bite-size chunks of sourdough or other crusty bread.
Use long fondue forks to dip the bread in the fondue, stirring it to stop it solidifying.
Do you still have a fondue set? If so when did you last make one? Tempted?
What to drink
A Swiss white such as Chasselas if you can get hold of it or a white wine from the Savoie region of France such as Roussette would be traditional. Otherwise any crisp dry white such as muscadet or pinot grigio would do - and would obviously be cheaper for making the fondue. What you shouldn’t drink is iced water which will make the cheese ball up indigestibly in your stomach.
The above photo by Mowie Kay is an edited screenshot from my book Winelover’s Kitchen
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