How to make a cheese fondue
This classic alpine dish is made with a mixture of beaufort, comte and abondance cheeses and a good kick of booze.
- 1 fat garlic clove, halved
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 350ml Savoie white wine such as crépy or apremont, plus 50ml extra
- 700g mixture beaufort, abondance and comté cheese, grated (tips For Success)
- 1-2 tsp kirsch (optional)
- large stale country loaf, cut into chunks, for dunking (tips For Success)
- Cornichons and charcuterie to serve
You’ll also need
- Methylated spirit
- Cast iron or stainless steel fondue set (see tips) or a 2 litre fondue pan or heavy-based casserole (see tips for success)
- Spirit burner and trivet (see tips for success)
- 6-8 fondue forks (from cook shops)
- Put the fondue pan/casserole on the hob over a medium heat. Rub the cut sides of the halved garlic clove all over the inside. Be generous.
- In a small bowl or jug, mix the cornflour with just enough wine to form a loose paste.
- Pour the paste into the pan along with the rest of the wine, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated cheese, then cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth – the cheese should steam but not boil.
- The fondue is done when it’s liquid but thick; the best way to check is to stir with a wooden spoon with a hole in the middle (known as a risotto spoon) – if the cheese covers the hole when the spoon is lifted, the fondue is ready. If the mixture thickens too much, add the extra 50ml wine to bring it back to the correct consistency. Add the kirsch if you like the extra kick (we do!).
- Transfer the fondue pan/casserole from the hob to the trivet, set over the lit spirit burner – keep it at a medium-low heat. Stir every so often with a clean wooden spoon so the cheese doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan (see tips). Serve with the bread for dunking using the fondue forks, and with cornichons and charcuterie alongside for a true Alpine feast.
Tips for success
- You should be able to find the recommended cheeses at a good cheese shop or supermarket. If you can’t get hold of them, a mix of gruyère, emmenthal, appenzeller or reblochon will work well – or ask your cheesemonger for alternatives. You can use just two cheeses, but we think three gives a deeper balance of favour.
- Don’t throw away any solidified cheese left at the bottom of the pan. Leave to cool, put in a sealed bag and chill, then slice and use to make an amazing cheese toastie.
- Buy good quality country bread or sourdough, then slice it and let it get quite stale. It will soak up the cheese much better.
- Try dipping other veg – cauliflower florets, broccoli spears etc.
And some advice from the locals
- If you want to follow the rules of fondue, anyone that drops their bread into the cheese has to kiss someone round the table. Anyone who does it twice has to buy everyone a drink.
- Tradition states you shouldn’t drink water with fondue as it causes the cheese to solidify in the stomach. Wine, cider or kirsch are the Alpine drinks of choice. We don’t anticipate complaints.