The right ratio of high quality ingredients is the secret to delicious cheese fondue.
I love cheese fondue. So much so, that my wife and I once ridiculously enjoyed cheese fondue for five nights in a row! That should probably be a once in a life time event, but fondue is an amazing treat and naturally lends itself to the back-to-back meals, with often left over extra cheese and wine.
This simple cheese fondue recipe is the result of years of fondue adventures and reliably results in perfect cheese fondue with about 20 minutes total including prep and cooking.
Delicious, perfect consistency cheese fondue is easy with the right ratio of cheese to wine.
The secret of perfect cheese fondue is balance. Fondue becomes magical with the perfect balance of wine and cheese. When done right, the super richness of raw-milk cheese is balanced with the acidity and minerality of the wine.
The consistency of the fondue is also super important. Too thick, and the fondue becomes an overbearing, heavy coating. Too thin, and it will lack body and presence. With the right consistency, fondue will adhere to dipped items adding bold flavor, yet be thin enough to soak into baguette and hard breads.
The good news is, if the ratio of cheese to wine is correct, the consistency will be right too. The “perfect” ratio of cheese to wine depends a bit on taste, but I generally find a ratio of one to one by weight is about right. That is, if I use 200 grams of wine, 200 grams of shredded hard cheese is about right.
Cheese fondue at about the right consistency - not too thick and not too thin.
Steps | Cheese Fondue
Set up and begin heating fondue pot.
Start warming your fondue pot. If you do not have a fondue pot, use a double boiler to create a low heat vessel to prepare the fondue.
Many commercial fondue pots use a ceramic bowl with double boiler. To use, fill the double boiler about halfway with water and set the ceramic bowl into the water vessel. Turn on the heat to establish a lite boil of the double boiler water and indirectly heat the fondue pot. Adjust heat accordingly to avoid excessive heat.
Add wine, Kirsh and seasonings to fondue pot and warm.
Weigh the wine and add to the fondue pot or double boiler. Use a dry white wine with decent acidity like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
As for the wine choice, I prefer Chardonnay. I generally use California Chardonnay as it is typically aged in oak and adds a rich, buttery essence to the fondue. For a dryer or acidic fondue, use un-oaked California Chardonnay or French Chardonnay.
Before adding the wine, some choose to rub the fondue pot with a freshly sliced garlic clove (I generally do not).
Once the wine is in the pot, add to it the Kirsch (Cherry Brandy), ground nutmeg and several turns of freshly ground black pepper.
Warm the wine mixture until beginning to simmer - about 10 minutes.
Prepare the Cheeses.
Weigh and shred the cheese you plan to use for your fondue.
I generally use three different Swiss or Swiss-like alpine style cheeses. Each adds its' own flavor profile to the eventual mix.
I generally use Gruyere for about half of the mix and then add equal amounts of a mild cheese and a "funky" cheese.
For the mild cheese (and for its' easy melting characteristics), I generally use Emmentaler (or Jarlsberg), and for the sharper "funky" cheese either Comté or Appenzeller Extra.
So, for the standard 2-serving recipe, shred 100 g of Gruyere (Cave Aged is best), 50 g of Emmentaler and 50 g of Comté or Appenzeller Extra. Add all of the shredded cheeses to a large bowl. Add flour and mix to combine the cheeses and flour.
Once the wine is sufficiently heated, slowly add the shredded cheese mixture.
After the wine has sufficiently warmed (about 10 minutes or so) and starts to simmer, begin adding the floured, shredded cheese mixture.
Add small handfuls at a time, allowing time to mix and for the added cheese melt and incorporate into the wine before adding more. As you add the cheese, mix the solution well using a silicone spatula or spoon, using a figure 8 or straight back and forth motion.
Continue adding cheese until all of the cheese has been added to the wine. Keep mixing as your add cheese and after all the cheese has been added to fully incorporate the cheese and create a smooth mixture.
Prepare Bread and Dipping Items.
Prepare cubes of a rustic, crusty bread - typically baguette - to dip into the fondue. Cut the bread into 1 - 2" cubes, leaving a section of crust on each piece. Place the bread pieces into a large bowl.
Prepare any additional dipping items buy cutting into bite-size pieces. Some fondue dipping item suggestions:
sliced pepperoni, salami or ham
sliced fruits like apple or pear
steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets
Dip Bread into melted cheese and enjoy!
With fondue and dipping items prepared, start heat source (electric, alcohol or Sterno flame), and place fondue pot.
Arrange bowls of cubed bread pieces and add-ons around fondue. Provide fondue forks and small plates for each participant.
At the end of the meal, don't forget to enjoy the crisp residual cheese remaining in the fondue pot. Swiss traditional is said to reserve this delicacy for the most important guest.