How to Make Cheese Fondue

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

Cheese fondue…a great romantic dinner for two. 

Warning: this story encourages the consumption of cheese. And why shouldn’t it?  If the USDA, the dairy industry, and Domino’s are all cool with the 30-plus pounds of mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese we’re now eating every year (nearly triple the amount in 1970), why can’t we Cheater Chefs at home get behind the cheese wheel momentum?

As usual, we’re way behind Europe. By the 1930s the Swiss Cheese Union was pushing cheese consumption with its national dish, fondue, and its ultimate cheese accessory, the Sterno-powered fondue set for six. Makes perfect sense coming from the inventors of the Swiss Army knife.

Rather than get sidetracked by the equipment portion of the dish, however, let’s remember that fondue represents unity and, as the Swiss Cheese Union’s slogan proclaimed, “fondue creates a good mood.”  Which is why fondue is well-timed for a romantic Valentine’s Day or any cold weather dinner at home in front of the fire. “Fondue,” after all, derives from the French “fondre” which means “to melt.”

Feel that good mood coming on? We sure do.

Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue: You’ll need to make three shopping stops.

The equipment: Fondue pots go for about $30 at Walmart, $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond, $80 at Target and even more at Williams-Sonoma. It’s like a turkey fryer, except easier to store and easier to score.

The Groceries: One baguette or other good crusty bread (day old is better–holds up better under melted cheese), 8 ounces Gruyere Swiss cheese, 8 ounces Emmentaler Swiss cheese, a head of garlic, one lemon, Cornstarch, Cornichons or sour pickles (no hamburger chips) or cocktail onions, white pepper, ground nutmeg, canned heat cooking fuel (Sterno), fresh strawberries, candles for romantic mood lighting, and seasoned firewood.

The Wine: Call your wine folks and tell them with your menu and price range. You’ll need one small bottle of Kirschwasser (cherry brandy), a nice dry, white wine (a crisp, acidic sauvignon blanc), and a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine for dessert.

For dessert, fresh strawberries and Champagne. You’ll be too full to eat much chocolate.


Related Posts

Comments are closed.