When you are in Switzerland, especially during the ski season, a remarkable fondue experience is never far. This popular Swiss meal gathers people together, just as only the good food, warmth and coziness of a home can do in the cold winter days.
Essentially, a "fondue" is a dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a portable stove (réchaud) heated with a candle or spirit lamp, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s, and was popularized in North America in the 1960s.
Subsequently the term "fondue" has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of liquid kept hot in a fondue pot: chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit or pastry are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil or broth.
The name "fondue" derives from the French word fondre, which means "to melt". Like many discoveries, this dish appeared as a result of a practical necessity. Isolated alpine peasants who took their flocks to the slopes of the mountain relied mainly on cheese, wine and bread to endure during the long winter. Often the cheese that was made in the summer became quite dry at the end of the year. In order to use the hard pieces of cheese and the old bread they had, the Swiss shepherds melted the wine and cheese together by heating the mixture. Then they dipped the pieces of bread in the warm, creamy liquid and enjoyed a delicious and nutritious meal. The Swiss Neufchatel region is struggling for the title of "the birthplace" of the classic fondue, made of the Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses. This combination is still the basis for the original Swiss dish.
Since its discovery, to this day the dish has gone a long way, getting different names. Now we have variations of low-fat fondues and such with various combinations of types of cheese and products.
Ask the Swiss where to find the best fondue, and they will often give the same answer: at home. In the homeland of this tasty dish you can always find ready-made mixes of already grated cheese and spices to prepare at home.
If you do not have a ready mix, you can get the necessary products and cook the classic swiss fondue alone. Here we have a recipe for you that we personally recommend:
Preparation time: less than 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 - 30 minutes
1. Add the corn flour and kirsch to the grated cheese and mix them well.
2. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the halves of garlic.
3. Add the wine and lemon juice and heat the liquid without letting it boil. Lower the temperature and gradually add the cheese mixture until it melts, stirring well all the time without letting it boil. When you get a homogeneous and smooth creamy mixture, add a pinch of nutmeg and a little ground white pepper to taste.
4. Use the special forks with long handles to dip the breadcrumbs in the fondue.
The dish is best combined with chilled white wine - Swiss, Kirsch (cherry spirit) or hot tea. Everything else would lead to digestive problems that would spoil this culinary pleasure.
You should also be careful when dipping the pieces of bread into the mixture, because as the legend says, those who drop food into the pot must kiss the person sitting next to them or pay the whole bill.