It's Fondue season

The arrival of colder weather signals the start of fondue season in our house. Classic fondue uses a mix of two different Alpine cheeses (moitié-moitié, French for half and half). Use good quality cheese. Forget the rubbery stuff labeled "Swiss cheese" in American grocery stores. There are over 450 varieties of cheese in Switzerland, and I've never seen anything that resembles American-style "Swiss cheese" in Switzerland.

My favorite fondue recipe uses a combination of Gruyère cheese and Appenzeller cheese, a flavorful, nutty cheese that adds real character to any fondue. It can be difficult to find – and it's expensive – but it's worth the effort. I can usually find it at my local Whole Foods. Gruyère cheese is pretty easy to find at Costco, Trader Joe's, or any good grocery store. 

  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 pound Appenzeller or Emmentaler cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • coarse ground black pepper (to taste)
  • cubed bread (use a loaf of good French, sourdough, or whole grain bread)
  1. Grate all of the cheeses. In a 1 gallon zip lock bag combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
  2. Rub the garlic glove all over the inside of the fondue pot to coat all of the surface.
  3. In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan bring the wine to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue.
  5. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, nutmeg (if desired), and top with a little coarse, fresh cracked black pepper.
  6. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers to dip the bread into the cheese. Enjoy!

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