There are few foods that are more identified with Swiss culture than fondue.
The Dictionary.com definition of fondue is: “a saucelike dish of Swiss origin made with melted cheese and seasonings together with dry white wine, usually flavored with kirsch: served as a hot dip for pieces of bread.”
The recipe was labeled the national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930's, and it gained popularity in North America and around the world in the '1960's.
Other similar dishes have been grouped under the fondue name, though they are not traditional in nature and would probably technically be called a “hot pot.” These may include gatherings where oil, broth, chocolate or other substances are kept at a warm temperature and meat, vegetables, bread or dessert items (as appropriate) are dipped in the hot substance either coating them or cooking them.
In fact, there are a number of restaurants based around this concept that has grown in popularity around the world.
The reality is, for most Swiss, the only “real” fondue is the original cheese fondue.
While there are as many recipes as there are great Swiss chefs, a basic recipe (courtesy of geniuskitchen.com) includes:
- 6 ounces of shredded gruyere,
- 6 ounces shredded emmentaler cheese,
- 2 ounces shredded Appenzeller cheese,
- 2 -3 tablespoons all-purpose flour,
- 1 garlic clove,
- 1 cup of dry white wine,
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice,
- 1 dash of kirsch,
- fresh ground pepper to taste,
- 1 pinch nutmeg.
The recipe is prepared in a steel pot. All the ingredients should be carefully added and cooked only until hot, not boiling. The result is a delicious, rich cheese sauce that is unlike anything else imaginable. It is perfect for pairing with chunks of crusty bread and your wine of choice.
Swiss Fondue is a dish that requires a bit of practice to get “just right.” Spend some time reviewing different recipes and checking out the options to find what tastes just right to you. Remember, this is a dish that is meant to be shared, so give it a try next time you plan to have friends or family over for a special night of fun and laughter.