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How to make a gorgeous gooey cheese fondue

publication date: Feb 7, 2009
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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Fondue is a bit like riding a bicycle. You think you’re never going to be able to do it then suddenly you get the hang of it. The trick is to get the liquid (usually wine though you could use dry cider) hot but not boiling then add the cheese bit by bit so it doesn’t ball up into an indigestible lump. And to stir with a zig-zag motion, rather than round and round.

Use the best cheese you can afford - preferably from a good cheese shop. The traditional cheeses to use are Gruyere and Emmental but you could chuck in a bit of cheddar

Ideally you need a fondue set - a cast iron one rather than the metal one - but you can make it in a cast iron Le Creuset-type saucepan or casserole, keep it over a very low heat and just stand round the cooker while you eat it.

Serves 2-4
Time: about 20 minutes including prep time
Cost: about £2-4 a head depending how good the cheese you use is

About 425g coarsely grated cheese - at least half of which should be Gruyere and the rest Emmental and/or another strong hard cheese like cheddar. You can also use Gruyère-like cheeses like
2 tsp cornflour
1 clove of garlic, halved
A large glass (about 175ml) very dry white wine (e.g. Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet)
1-2 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Pain de campagne or other dense rustic bread or ciabatta to serve

Toss the sliced or grated cheese in a bowl with the cornflour. Let it come to room temperature.

Rub the inside of the pan you're using (see above) with the cut garlic. Pour in the wine and heat until almost boiling.

Remove the pan from the heat and tip in about a third of the cheese. Keep breaking up the cheese with a wooden spoon using a zig-zag motion. (Stirring it round and round as you do with a sauce makes it more likely that the cheese will separate from the liquid). 

Once the cheese has begun to melt return it over a very low heat, stirring continuously. Gradually add the remaining cheese until you have a smooth, thick mass (this takes about 10 minutes, less with practice) If it seems too thick add some more hot wine. Add the kirsch if using (try 1 tbsp to start with) and season with pepper

Place the pot over your fondue burner (or pour the cheese into a warmed fondue dish) and serve with bite-size chunks of sourdough or other country bread. Use long fondue forks to dip the bread in, stirring the fondue as you do so to prevent it solidifying.


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