Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cheese Fondue, my way

This has to be the mot nontraditional cheese fondue ever- super basic. But it was a cold night, and I wanted something easy and comforting that would cook itself- and it was delicious! The dish itself is simple, but the key is to use quality ingredients that you like the taste of.

  • 2-3 varieties of soft cheese- I used Gruyere and a soft Cheddar, but honestly, go with any soft, easily melting cheese you like to eat- if you like the taste of the cheese, of course you will like it in the fondue! I used about a cup of each, shredded- you MUST shred- makes it easies to melt and mix with the other ingredients.
  • 1-2 varieties of white wine or light, pale cider- you can use any that you like to drink- please DO NOT use a wine with high color (pink/brown fondue??? I think not!) and DO NOT use a wine sold "for cooking"- buy a bottle of what you want to drink with your meal, use some with the fondue, and drink the rest with your meal- no waste! I used a quarter cup of a California white I had lying around, and a quarter cup of Korbel champagne- the latter was a really good idea- it tasted great in the fondue.
  • black pepper and garam masala (!!) to taste. I didn't want to add nutmeg, which would have been the usual thing to do, but you could. You could also add garlic powder, oregano or rosemary- just make sure you don't use more than 2-3 spices (the more the spices, the greater the risk of muddy flavors), and do not replace black pepper with another spice- please :)
  • Dippers- different TOASTED breads- sourdough, rye, a robust white. Also crisp apples- whatever you like!
  • Fondue pot- I just used a regular small, heavy bottomed pan, but if you are serving to your guests, you may want to get something pretty, since we are cooking and serving in the same pot.


  • Take a small, but heavy pan, and boil the 1/2 cup of wines you are using.
  • As soon as the wine mix comes to a boil, reduce to a medium heat.
  • Add your cheeses, crushed black pepper and garam masala- go easy on the latter- you want to taste the cheese at the end of this.
  • Let the cheese melt itself- it should take about 5 minutes, during which time, you should not fuss with the fondue.
  • After five minutes, give the pot a stir, to see if more melting is required- if you see that the cheese has gone grainy on you, do not worry- just leave it on the heat for another 5 minutes or so, on low heat. As soon you have the consistency you desired, its time to eat- get dipping!


  • Sorry no photo again- was too busy eating to remember :)
  • You shouldn't need to add any salt- the cheese would have enough.
  • You could also add fresh herbs and fresh garlic- just make sure you crush them really well, and add them after the wine has boiled, but before adding the cheese- it will mix better.
  • The fondue should remain warm and edible for about 15 minutes- if you are using a fondue pot with a warming attachment, that's great, but if not, you may want to reheat every 15 minutes.
  • Leftover fondue heats up perfectly- just make sure you put the pot on gentle heat first, and slowly move to medium heat once it melts a bit. The morning after, I used it for a open-face grilled cheese sandwiches, with sun-dried tomatoes- yum!

No comments: