The history of fondue can be traced to Switzerland, where people dipped stale chunks of bread into the dish of melted cheese. Because the recipe was so simple, people could mix different cheeses to produce different flavor combinations with each batch.Over the years, different combinations of cheeses were blended with other ingredients, most notably wine. The addition of wine to this mixture was courtesy of the French, with cherry brandy being the most commonly used wine.
Rise of Fondue
Although fondue has been around for centuries, it didnt become popular in Europe or the United States until the 1950s. However, when fondue reached its heyday, it became a popular party centerpiece. The 1970s brought in fondue pots designed specifically for parties. Soon after, thin skewers became available and were used to pierce assorted fondue ingredients such as meats and fruits. Chocolate fondue was introduced in 1964, as the fondue pot could now be used for a variety of melted ingredients. While hot oil was the preferred method for cooking meat pieces, melted cheese with bread became the standard fondue fare.Fondue recipes today can range from savory hot crab or garlic cheese dips to sweet melted toffee, peanut butter and chocolate mixtures. The sky is the limit when it comes to combinations. In fact, many people experiment with a variety of chocolates, cheeses, dipping ingredients and sauces to suit their own tastes.
Fondue Tips and Strategies
In order to make the best cheese fondue, be sure to grate the cheese well and use corn flour and white wine to prevent curdling. Another way to prevent the cheese from curdling is to use alcohol. Wine is the most popular pairing for cheese sauces.Fondue dipping components can include chunks of wheat bread, bagel chunks, buttered toast, vegetables (such as carrots, cauliflower, green beans, celery sticks and broccoli), chicken, firm tofu and various chunks of fresh fruit. Meats for frying in oil can include cubes of roast beef, salami or ham.When throwing a fondue party, provide plenty of cut up fruits, meats and bread. You”ll need to make the fondue in a saucepan before transferring it to an actual fondue pot. So, take care in the melting process to prevent overcooking, curdling or burning.If you don”t have a fondue set with the metal prongs, purchase disposable skewers at the grocery store. They will range in a variety of sizes. After cooking and setting up for your party, have fun and enjoy the classic dish of fondue!
Here is a traditional recipe for Swiss cheese fondue. This can be made in the fondue pot or in a saucepan and then transferred.
Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup Vacherin cheese
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp. corn flour
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- Kirschwasser (cherry liquor)
- crusty white bread cut into thick slices/chunks.
- Chop up the garlic clove and rub alongside the fondue pot. Leave inside.
- Mix the grated cheese with the corn flour. Place it in the fondue pot with the white wine, lemon juice and nutmeg.
- Heat the mixture until it begins to bubble. Keep stirring until smooth.
- If the mixture is too thick, add some kirsch wine. If it is too thin, add more corn flour. Stir constantly.
- Set the fondue pot to warm and serve with white bread.
This chocolate fondue is the perfect way to finish out your next fondue party. Dipping components for chocolate fondue can include fresh strawberries, chunks of fruit, marshmallows, cookies, brownies or even sweet bread (like Hawaiian bread).
Chocolate Fondue Recipe
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb. dark chocolate cut into small bits
- 1/8 cup cherry liquor, or more, depending on your tastes
- Bring the whipping cream to a boil on the stove and then lower to simmer.
- Add the dark chocolate and stir well. Continue to stir until well-blended and silky smooth.
- Turn off the heat and add the cherry liquor. Continue to stir and pour into the fondue pot.
- Serve with whole strawberries, chunks of bananas and pineapple or even a dark wheat bread.
Add a hazelnut flavoring to this recipe for a great variation.