Best Cheese Fondue Recipe with Gruyere and Jarlsberg
I absolutely love cheese. Put a delicious, creamy, Swiss cheese fondue in front of me with some delicious dippers, and you will see one happy girl!
I grew up in the 70s and remember my parents going to our family friend's house and having fondue. Their daughter lived in Switzerland and every time they came back from visiting her, they extended their memories of their stay by having a fondue party. I don't remember all the types of fondues we'd have, but I fondly remember those special times.
In the 1930s, the Swiss Cheese Union, Schweizerische Käseunion, popularized fondue and promoted it as a Swiss national dish to increase the amount of cheese consumption. It made its way to the United States and began becoming popular here in the 1960s.
About 10 years ago, my love for fondues made a return when I started a New Year's Eve tradition with this delicious cheese fondue as well as a chocolate fondue! I prepare them early in the evening, and we snack on them all night. I must admit, that sometimes I have to make another batch of this because it gets devoured quickly!
- 1-2 Garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half (crosswise)
- 1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1/2 lb Jarlsberg or other Swiss-type cheese (Emmenthaler, Appenzeller, etc), shredded
- 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 cup Dry white wine of your choice
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch*
- 1/2 teaspoon Dry mustard
- Pinch Nutmeg, freshly grated
- Dippers (see recommended list below)
Did you know that the earliest known recipe for cheese fondue as we know it today comes from a book published in Zurich way back in 1699?
- Shred both varieties of cheese using a metal grater or similar. I find that the larger holes on the grater make it a bit easier on the fingers and quicker in grating the cheese.
- Combine both types of cheese in a large gallon sized ziplock bag. Add the cornstarch. The cornstarch helps to stabilize the sauce. Seal the bag and shake it until the cheese is coated with the cornstarch. Set aside for now.
- Rub the inside walls and bottom of a non-reactive, 4-quart saucepan, with the cut halves of one of the garlic cloves. This gives a slight garlic flavor to the fondue without overpowering it. Discard the garlic.
- Add the dry white wine and lemon juice to the garlic rubbed pot and bring to a slight simmer over medium heat. NOTE: If you think you'd prefer more of a garlic taste than the scant amount that was rubbed on the sides of the saucepan, you may also choose to finely chop some garlic and add it to the simmering wine and lemon juice. Don't overdo it with garlic, though! You may want to try it once following the recipe and adjust in the future for more garlic, if you think it's needed.
- Important! Add cheese little by little into the wine, stirring constantly in a zig-zag or figure-8 pattern. This is done to prevent the cheese from forming a ball and seizing up. Continue zig-zag stirring and heating until the cheese is melted and creamy, but do not allow it to come to a boil.
- When the cheese mixture is melted and smooth, add in the kirsch*, dry mustard, and nutmeg.
- Optional: This is something that I like to do, but you can choose to or not. With the other pair of garlic halves, rub the inside of the fondue serving pot, before adding the melted cheese.
- Pour the fondue into a fondue serving pot and set it over a low flame**.
It's an old Swiss wives' tale that you should not drink cold beverages with cheese fondue! Why? Because it can make the cheese hard to digest. We'll leave that one up to you to decide if it's true or not!
* If you don't have Kirsch, you can use regular Brandy or Cognac, or omit altogether and it shouldn't significantly affect the taste.
** To keep the cheese fondue warm, you may use either a small tea-light candle or a sterno, depending on the thickness of your fondue pot. My fondue pot has a stainless steel portion to which I add water and set the fondue bowl into it. A small sterno underneath heats the water and keeps the cheese melted without burning in one spot.
Did you drop a cube of bread into the fondue? If you're a man, you must buy drinks for all others! If you're a woman, you must kiss whomever is to your left and right. Honest!
Fondue wouldn't the delicious treat that it is without all of the wonderful dippers! Choose from several dippers that pair great with cheese from the selection below! Let the family be involved with choosing their favorite(s).
- Crusty bread cubes, such as French Bread (day-old works best)
- Apple slices
- Pear slices
- Blanched Broccoli
- Blanched Cauliflower
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Steamed baby potatoes