Somehow cheese fondue has become associated with the 1970s, coinciding perhaps with the first mass-market skiing holidays when British tourists discovered the dish. Every wedding list contains a cheese fondue set, most car boot sales have one lurking underneath a table. It’s true we don’t use our fondue sets often, neglected, they gather dust at the back of the kitchen cupboard. But I refute allegations of naffness. Cheese fondue is delicious, luxurious, warming, festive and the ultimate sharing dish. And as such it is the perfect supper club entrée, you cannot ignore your fellow guests when fighting over the longed for crunchy bits at the bottom, once the yellow alcoholic buttery liquid has reduced. It’s a fight with fondue forks…en garde!
Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie and all round cheese expert suggests in The Cheese Room, doing an English version with a third each of Cheddar, Cheshire and Wensleydale.
1 clove garlic, halved
One bottle of white wine (from Savoie if possible)
600g emmental cheese grated
400g gruyère cheese grated
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
cubed bread pieces, for dipping
Small potatoes, baked on salt
Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the halves of garlic.
Add the wine to the pot and heat until bubbling. Lower the heat and gradually stir in the cheeses until melted, stirring all the time.
If using kirsch, blend with the cornflour, otherwise use water. Add to the cheese mixture and cook gently until the mixture is smooth – don’t let it boil or it will burn.
Using the fondue forks, dip the bread cubes into the cheese, twist the fork to maximise the cheese load and transfer it to your mouth.
Accompany with a walnut oil dressed green salad, the pickles.
I would also suggest baking tiny potatoes on a bed of sea salt for half an hour. Lovely dipping material too!
Don’t you just love these 70s English pottery soup bowls that I picked up last week at a local charity shop?