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Cheese Fondue

By Chef John Ash

With the unprecedented cheese renaissance in this country, this old war horse of the 60’s and 70’s is making a huge comeback. Time to unearth that old fondue pot and long forks or wooden skewers and treat your sweetie to something special. Serve with any of the Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay’s.

Emmental and Gruyère are the most commonly used cheeses in a classic fondue, but Appenzeller, Comté, Beaufort, Tête de Moine — all relatively low in moisture — also work fine. The addition of cornstarch keeps the cheese and wine from separating.

As an additional treat, when you are almost done eating the fondue, leave a thin coating of cheese on the bottom of the pot. Lower the flame and allow the coating to turn into a brown crust, then break it into pieces and share it with your guests. The crust is considered a delicacy in Switzerland.

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    Serves 2

    Total Time 20 minutes

    Prep Time 10 minutes

    Difficulty Level Easy


    1 garlic clove, halved crosswise

    1 1/2 c dry white wine such as Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay

    1 tbsp cornstarch

    2 tbsp kirsch

    1/2 lb Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)

    1/2 lb Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)


    1. Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, and then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.

    2. Stir together cornstarch and kirsch in a cup.

    3. Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.

    4. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame and serve with bread and other accompaniments for dipping.

    5. Accompaniments: Cubes of French bread, apple wedges, cubes of smoked ham, boiled baby new potatoes or whatever else you’d like.

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