Sunday, February 4, 2007

A Lesson on Swiss Fondue

Having recently returned from her native Switzerland, my friend Anne invited our friend Stephen and me over the other night for a traditional Swiss Fondue. The weather, cold and miserable, set the perfect scene for gathering around a warm pot of melted cheese.

"There are as many recipes for fondue as there are people!" Anne told us. Hers is a family recipe for Fondue Moitie-Moitie (or "Half-Half"). The "half-half" refers to the cheese mix, which is half Vacherin Fribourgeois and half Gruyere. This mix, Anne explained, is not only classic in the region of Fribourg from which she comes, but it lends the dish its perfectly smooth texture and flavor.
She was kind enough to share the recipe below along with some key pointers. It is written for one serving, but, with the exception of the cornstarch, should be scaled up as necessary. It's no fun to eat fondue alone!

1/4 pound per person Vacherin Fribourgeois, coarsely grated
1/4 pound per person Gruyere, finely grated
1/4 cup per person dry white wine, Swiss if you can find it
1 scant tsp cornstarch (optional)(scale up conservatively, ie. use 2 tsps for 4 people)
1 whole clove garlic, cut in half

1. Rub a caquelon*, or heavy pot, with halved garlic and discard clove. (For a stronger garlic taste leave clove in pot.) Turn heat on to medium.

*A caquelon is an enameled cast iron pot with a stubby handle that is especially suited to fondue. If you don't have your own caquelon, use a pot heavy enough to distribute the heat evenly.

2. Mix cornstarch and wine and add to pot.

3. Add grated Gruyere and slowly mix in. When nearly melted, add Vacherin in small amounts, stirring constantly.

4. Continue stirring over medium heat for three to five minutes until thickened and smooth.

5. Take pot to table and place over a low heat source. Serve with large bites of crusty white bread (day-old works best) and freshly ground black pepper. (To answer Kendra's earlier question, the Kirsch may be added directly to the pot, or kept aside in a glass and dipped into on the way to the fondue pot.)

6. The rest is pretty self-explanatory: with a long fork, dip into the pot and stir vigorously until your bread is soaked with cheese. (Careful not to lose your piece in the pot, as by tradition you're then required to buy the next round.) Twist any lingering strings of cheese around the fork as if twirling pasta.

Enjoy with good friends and plenty of dry white wine!


EdamameMommy said...

We LOVE YOU LADIES! My 3 1/2 yr-old twins and I were so happy to discover your stall at the farmer's market this week. We went home and set up a beautiful cheese plate -- had half of it consumed and eagerly described each selection when Daddy walked through the door. Wishing you continued success. See you soon.

Lindsey said...

I remember the three of you and your plans! Glad you were pleased and thanks for the support!

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