Welcome to Fondue Season!
If the word “fondue” is conjuring a mental image of feathered hair, turtleneck shirts under v-neck sweaters, and avocado-colored kitchen appliances, stop right there. This traditional Swiss dish may have enjoyed its American heyday in the 70’s but it actually dates back to the 18th century and then, as now, as in the 70’s, it’s delicious. I mean, what’s not to love? Cheese melted with wine and served with crusty bread. I love cheese, wine, AND bread. Throw in some friends and family around the table, give me an excuse to purchase specialized kitchen equipment, and it just doesn’t get any better. Fondue definitely belongs in today’s culinary world so conjure an image of yourself as you are now and keep reading. (Of course, if you’re still rocking the feathered hair, turtleneck-sweater combo, and avocado appliances then this should be no great difficulty. And invite me over for dinner because you sound amazing.)
In the recipes section of our website, you can find two classic ways of making fondue: a classic two-cheese version and three cheese version (the main difference is the presence- or absence- of Appenzeller, a beautiful alpine-style cheese that’s milder and just a tad softer than Gruyere and Emmenthaler). For fondue purists, either one of these recipes will fit the bill and do it marvelously. Simple, elegant, and well-balanced with traditional Swiss flavors, these fondues will transport you and your party to the Alpine Mountains for a cozy après-ski.
But I want to encourage you to broaden your fondue horizons a bit. Remember, it’s basically cheese melted with wine (with a thickener and often some garlic), so as long as the cheeses melt well and get along with each other flavor-wise, you’re good to go. How about bringing in some Italian flavors and using fontina fontal, a fantastic melter, and toss in some gorgonzola dolce for a little blue funk? (Or skip the gorgonzola if you don’t jive with the funk- 70’s lingo intented- and try taleggio or even black truffle-laced sottocenere.) Or cast your eyes and tastebuds to Scandinavia and play with a combination of Havarti and Finlandia Swiss, which will result in a fondue that’s both flavorful and appealingly budget-friendly.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy fondue is actually to make a local version, using whatever locally-crafted alpine-style cheese catches my fancy at the time. What’s alpine-style cheese?, you might be asking. Here’s what sets them apart from the others: high cooking temperatures during the cheesemaking process, curds cut to tiny, rice-sized pieces, and cave aging. These cheeses tend to be smooth, tightly knit except for random holes or “eyes”, and relatively low in moisture. Farms like Consider Bardwell, Cobb Hill, and Spring Brook Farm all make excellent options for locally-inspired fondue fun.
Whichever path you take to achieve your completely modern, completely appropriate, completely stunning fondue, we’re here to help you along the way and we’ll raise our ridiculously long forks right along with you!