Cheese fondue became a family favorite meal while living in Switzerland! I was pregnant twice during our 4 year transfer there and during one of my pregnancies, we had fondue at least once a week but more often, two times a week! You would think, with all the low fat/no fat propaganda, that I would have gained pound after pound eating all that fat. Not the case at all – in fact, I only gained 21 lbs during that pregnancy! Says something about our body’s need for fat doesn’t it? According to Wikipedia:
The earliest known recipe for cheese fondue as we know it today comes from a 1699 book published in Zurich, under the name “Käss mit Wein zu kochen” ‘to cook cheese with wine’. It calls for grated or cut-up cheese to be melted with wine, and for bread to be dipped in it. … The introduction of cornstarch (“Maïzena”) to Switzerland in 1905 made it easier to make a smooth and stable emulsion of the wine and cheese, and probably contributed to the success of fondue.
Fondue is basically melted cheese served in a communal pot over a heat source to keep it hot and bubbly. Long forks are used to dip chunks of bread into the melted cheese mixture. Traditionally, it was the man’s job to make fondue. Our theory on the reasoning behind this is that since so much alcohol evaporates during the cooking process, the men were there to inhale the vapors! While the term “fondue” has become extended to include chocolate fondue in which fruit is used to dip into melted chocolate and fondue bourguignonne in which pieces of meat are dipped and cooked in hot oil, when we say fondue is for dinner, it means cheese fondue! I have made the following recipe with Appenzeller and Gruyere cheeses, as well as, other combinations including one sharp and one milder cheese. Now, I primarily use our homemade cheese which is normally a combination of Swiss, Muenster and/or cheddar cheese. I double the recipe and serve it with pickles, pickled okra, pickled onions and/or olives.
- 7 c grated cheese (combination of Appenzeller, Gruyere, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Muenster – I pick 1 sharp and 1 mild variety)
- 2 c white wine
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 6 Tbsp kirschwasser (a cherry liquor)
- garlic, paprika and pepper to taste (where to buy spices)
- ground pepper and garlic powder to taste
- 2 loaves french, whole wheat or gluten free bread, cut into chunks. Click for sources of sprouted bread and gluten free bread.