Given the hundreds of recipes out there, my favorite is the traditional Swiss recipe. It’s tried and true, and I‘ve been using it for over 40 years. Fondue can be made in a heavy saucepan on the stove and then transferred to a fondue pot and kept heated over low flame.
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup Kirsch (optional-can be too strong for some)
1 pound cheese, shredded or cubed * (1/2 pound Emmenthaler and 1/2 pound Gruyere)
2 tablespoons arrowroot (corn starch or flour will work)
1 garlic clove
Squeeze of lemon juice
Nutmeg and pepper to taste
2 loaves French bread, cut into bite sized cubes
* In order to avoid a bland tasting fondue, we recommend a well-aged Emmenthaler and Gruyere. Some like to add a quarter-pound of Appenzeller cheese to the mix. This is a very flavorful Swiss cheese that is aged in a vat of white wine when first made.
Rub the fondue pot with the cut garlic clove (discard garlic). Then mix the shredded or cubed cheese, black pepper and the arrowroot in a plastic bag. Try to coat all of the cheese with arrowroot to stop the cheese from sticking together.
Heat the wine in the fondue pot until hot but not to a boil. Stir in the lemon juice, which adds acidity, to help the cheese and the wine merge. Add the cheese to the wine, a handful at a time, until melted and smooth. Top with a little nutmeg and additional pepper to taste.
Tradition has it that when dipping your fork into the pot, if a man loses his bread, he must buy the next round. Should a lady lose her bread, she must kiss the guy to her right. You can always start your own tradition.
Fondue is too thick – Add a little wine to the mixture.
Fondue is too runny – Add more cheese or a little more arrowroot.
Fondue separates – Always stir the fondue while cooking and at meal time to keep it smooth and creamy, add additional heat if necessary.
Bread falls in to the fondue – Always cut the bread so there is some remaining crust on each piece so you have something for the fork to hold on to.
Bottom burning – In addition to stirring often, be sure to watch for boiling fondue. If this occurs, lower the heat. If you waited too long you might have to transfer the fondue to another pot, clean the fondue pot then return the fondue mixture to the bowl.