How to make Swiss Fondue
Fondue goes with Switzerland like chocolate and cows. Creamy, silky cheese fondue is a cold weather favourite of many Swiss Families and not always reserved for only when snow is falling. And now that the weather is starting to cool down and winter is just around the corner its time to dust off your fondue pot and FIGUGEGL
Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune
Fondue is good and gives a good mood.
This is a famous Swiss saying that was actually created in the 1950s by a Swiss advertising agency on behalf of the Swiss cheese union to encourage the Swiss to eat more cheese! It was obviously a very successful campaign as this saying has become synonymous with eating fondue amongst the Swiss. The Swiss cheese union were also responsible for helping Fondue to become a Swiss National dish in the 1930s.
And lest anyone is confused, when we talk about fondue we’re not talking about the chocolate one (although its yummy, you wouldn’t normally find chocolate fondue in a Swiss person’s house).
The one thing about fondue is, however, that it can get a bit stinky. That is why you’ll so often find it being served outdoors in certain restaurants and ski resorts, for example. When we eat at home, we will brave the stickiness and make sure all the doors to the bedroom are closed, and give the apartment a good "lufte" afterwards.
But when I was chatting the other day to Simple Family Travel contributor Pamela, she had mentioned to me that she had recently taken some guests up the mountain with their Mercedes camper van and made fondue in their kitchen while watching the sunset over the alps. Such a simple thing turned out to be the highlight of their friends’ visit.
Fondue with a view!
I realised that we had never been that adventurous with our fondue eating. Pamela inspired me and I realized that fondue is one of the most portable treats you could eat. And why in the world were we reserving it for the weekend?
I had my chance to use this idea during our fall school holidays. We had friends visiting from the UK and one late afternoon we headed up the mountain and enjoyed our fondue by sunset. Seriously the best idea ever!
I packed up a picnic basket with our fondue pot (called a caquelon), the stand and burner, forks, cubed bread, and a packet of prosecco-laced fondue mix we purchased from Käse Dubach. For the picky kids who don’t eat fondue (more for us!!!) we brought a long some vegetable sticks and some Portuguese steaks for the BBQ.
We couldn’t have chosen a better night. The sun was shining and it was still warm enough to run around without a coat on (until the sun set). With the sun setting over the alps, we dunked our bread into the bubbling fondue, being careful not to lose it in the molten cheese mixture.
We were able to cook the fondue just over the heat of the burner of the fondue stove. It took a little longer than it would have if first cooked over a normal stove, but it did work.
Don’t own a fondue set? No worries! Use (or borrow!) a camping stove and a saucepan, it does the job just as well. Make sure you bring a spatula along to scrape out the last sticky bits of cheese.
Are you a first-time fondue eater? Here are some tips:
1. Keep on stirring!! You don’t want the cheese to stick to the bottom and burn, so each time you dip your bread into the pot, stir the bottom to make sure it doesn’t stick.
2. Chop your bread such that each little bite size piece has a little bit of crust - if you stick your fork through the crust, you are less likely to lose your bread in the fondue.
3. Don’t lose your bread in the fondue! Our family rule is that if you lose your bread in the fondue you will have to wash the dishes. Other families may make you take a shot of Kirsch (cherry liquor), buy everyone a round of drinks or even kiss the person sitting next to you. You can make up your own funny tradition.
4. Fondue is traditionally served with white wine, and for the more adventurous, Kirsch, is traditionally served alongside fondue as the beverage of choice.
5. If enjoying fondue away from home, always bring some sort of spatula along to help remove the last little bit of sticky fondue. And soak your pot and forks as soon as you return to your home.
6. When most Swiss say fondue, they mean cheese fondue. As previously mentioned, chocolate fondue isn’t very popular and I think was probably created more for tourists than anything. Other types of fondue include Fondue Chinoise (raw meats and vegetables cooked in boiling broth) and Bourguignonne (oil is used instead of broth)
7. No double dipping! Stir your bread in the melted cheese until the bread is coated. To prevent the cheese from slipping off the bread twist the fork around a bit as you bring it to your plate.
8. Our favourite type of cheese fondue is Moitié Moitié which is equal parts of Gruyère and Fribougeois Vacherin cheese but there are plenty of variations. If you can’t find Swiss cheese, look for strong cheese that melts easily. A bit of corn starch will help prevent the cheese mixture from breaking when it gets hot.
Don’t have a local cheese shop that can mix up a fondue for you? You can get adventurous with my father-in-law’s “famous” fondue recipe!
Swiss cheese Fondue
150-200g cheese per person. grated. Our favourite is an equal mixture ofGruyère and Fribougeois Vacherin
100ml white wine
a nip of Kirsch (clear cherry liquor)
Cornflour (full teaspoon per 2 people)
Knife tip of Baking Soda
Pepper, paprika and a touch of nutmeg for seasoning.
1/2 clove of garlic.
1. Rub the fondue pot with the half clove of garlic.
2. Mix the Kirsch and cornflour together set aside. Use enough Kirsch so help the cornflour dissolve.
3. Pour the wine into the pan and add pepper, seasonings and baking soda. Mix in the grated cheese and move to the stove.
4. Mix the cheese mixture on a high heat until the it starts to melt. Turn the heat down and continue to stir. Never stop.
5. When the mixture has melted, add in the Kirsch/cornflour and stir well.
6. Move the pan immediately to the burner and start to eat straight away.
Have you had fondue before? Where is your favourite place to enjoy it? Do you have a favourite cheese mix?