A swiss Cheese fondue made with gruyere and emmental cheeses.

Swiss Cheese Fondue – The Real Deal

During my work term as a cook in Switzerland I had the good fortune of being exposed to a lot of new foods I had never tried before. From ingredients and items such as romanesco and day old goat cheese rolled in wood ash, to dishes such as traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue. I clearly remember sitting down to lunch with my Uncle Norbert, who had driven with me to Switzerland from Germany, in the Gasthaus ‘Restaurant Windstock‘ in Rickenbach/Schwyz. It’s a wonderful little establishment run by my Aunt Pia’s sister in what used to be a dairy farm. We decided to order the fondue (Kaesefondue) and I was 100 percent expecting to be dipping various items in a big pot of delicious cheesiness. Quite honestly I had never had anything but a broth based fondue before so I was completely surprised when the food was brought over and I learned that with Cheese Fondue only chunks of bread are traditionally dipped and eaten. I quickly learned to love this national dish though and can’t get enough of is rich, gooey, cheesy deliciousness.A swiss Cheese fondue made with gruyere and emmental cheeses.

Please note that some links in this post lead to affiliate sites, for which Earth, Food, and Fire may be compensated should you complete a purchase. This helps keep us online, creating awesome new content every week. For more information please read our affiliate disclaimer.

The Real Swiss Cheese Fondue

Traditionally a Swiss cheese fondue is made with two different kinds of cheese, usually dependent on the region of Switzerland you’re in. Recipes can include varying amounts of Appenzeller, Gruyère, and Emmentaler cheeses. Different variations can also be created by adding ingredients such as mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, and even chillies.  The most common Swiss cheese fondue though is a simple ‘half and half’  ratio of Gruyère and Emmental cheese shredded and melted with white wine. Garlic is often first used to rub the inside of the fondue dish (called a caquelon), after which the white wine is heated followed by melting the shredded cheese. A dry white wine is most often used and the acid in the wine helps keep the melted cheese smooth. A splash of lemon juice can also be added. Starch such as corn or potato starch are also often added to the wine to help stabilise the cheese mixture and prevent the fats splitting out from the milk solids. Once the cheese has completely melted and reached a smooth consistency, a splash of kirsch liqueur is added to add that special flavour all cheese fondues have.

Fondue Fuels

Various Fuels that may be used in cheese fondues

If properly heated and kept at a consistent temperature the cheese will create a toasty crust on the inside walls of the caquelon which can be eaten like a chip. To ensure you do properly heat the cheese fondue it’s best to use a proper fondue set. You don’t want to use a random pot which may not be suited to sitting over a flame for an extended period of time. This can burn the cheese creating a horrible flavour and ruining the fondue. Special fondue gel or liquid fuels can be bought as well, but always check what kind of burner fuel your fondue set is made for. If the burner lid doesn’t unscrew and you can see a little felt or cotton looking pad inside the chamber, chances are the burner uses a liquid fuel. If the cap unscrews and has an empty chamber, a gel insert or gel fuel is more likely meant to be used. Always read the instructions that came with you fondue set!

If your fondue burner uses liquid fuels you can use methyl hydrate ( also known as wood alcohol) instead of the ‘fondue fuel’  which is usually just methyl hydrate which has a blue dye added. Methyl hydrate can be bought in bulk as paint stripper at hardware stores and is considerably cheaper than buying the brand name fondue fuel. Care must be taken when using methyl hydrate or other alcohol based fuels, that they are not spilled as you are filling the burner. Since these fuels are clear and have no real scent they can pose a serious fire hazard if care is not used while handling them. Once lit, the fuel burner often has an almost clear flame if no dye is mixed in with the fuel. For these reasons, children should not refill or light the fondue burner.

Heating Cheese Fondue over a fondue burner

My Favorite Cheese Fondue

But let’s get down to the reason we are all here..making and eating cheese fondue. For this recipe I used :

350 grams of Gruyere cheese

300 grams of Emmentaler Cheese

1 cup dry white wine (I used Kim Crawfords Sauvignon Blanc)

1 clove garlic cut in half, then minced

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 Tbsp kirsch

and of course,

1 loaf of your favourite sourdough or crusty French bread

Rub the Caquelon with garlic to star making the cheese fondue
Begin by taking the clove of garlic and rubbing the inside of the
caquelon (fondue dish) with the cut side, spreading the natural garlic oil on the surface. Next add your white wine and over a lit fondue burner gently heat the liquid. Before heating the wine a tablespoon of cornstarch can be dissolved in the wine which will help stabilise the cheese. As the wine gently heats, shred your cheese on a handheld box grater or other grating device. Melt the cheese in grated form as opposed to cheese cut into chunks or block, this will ensure even melting of the fat and no lumps or burnt bits in the end product. Finish the cheese fondue with a splash of kirsch. As mentioned above other ingredients such as tomatoes herbs and spices can be added to taste to create flavoured fondues for every occasion.

A swiss Cheese fondue made with gruyere and emmental cheeses.

Once the cheese fondue is prepared and ready to eat, turn the flame on the burner to low and enjoy by dipping large chunks of crusty bread into the cheese. Paired with a nice dry white wine you can’t go wrong with a good homemade Swiss cheese fondue. Other items such as blanched vegetables or raw fruit (such as apples) could also be used to dip in the cheese.

Tried the recipe? Take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest If you loved this European inspired recipe? Check out my Hearty German Goulash, or this super simple Spaetzle recipe!

Swiss Cheese Fondue 

A traditional Swiss Cheese fondue for two, made just like it is in Switzerland. Perfect for sharing or a dinner party.
Course Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Markus Mueller

Ingredients

  • 350 grams of Gruyere cheese
  • 300 grams of Emmentaler Cheese
  • 1 cup dry white wine I used Kim Crawfords Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 clove garlic cut in half then minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp kirsch
  • and of course
  • 1 loaf of your favourite sourdough or crusty French bread

Instructions

  1. Begin by taking the clove of garlic and rubbing the inside of the fondue dish with the cut side, spreading the natural garlic oil on the surface.
  2. Add your white wine, cornstarch and minced garlic to the pot, and over a lit fondue burner gently heat the liquid.
  3. As the wine gently heats, shred the cheese on a handheld box grater. Melt the grated cheese in with the wine until a smooth consistency is reached.
  4. Finish the cheese fondue with a splash of kirsch.
  5. As mentioned in the article above other ingredients such as tomatoes herbs and spices can be added to taste to create flavored fondues for every occasion.
  6. Ingredients such as steamed veg and raw fruit may also be used to dip in the cheese fondue, though the traditional way to eat it is with cubes of hearty bread.

Please note that some links in this post lead to affiliate sites, for which Earth, Food, and Fire may be compensated should you complete a purchase. This helps keep us online, creating awesome new content every week. For more information please read our affiliate disclaimer.


© 2016 – 2018, Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire. All rights reserved. Please contact Earth, Food, and Fire, if you wish to use any media or other content contained on this site.

Related Posts

A traditional Swiss Cheese fondue for two, made just like it is in Switzerland. Perfect for sharing or a dinner party.

2 Comments

  1. Wow Markus, I had no idea that fondue had such a science behind it! Thanks for the in-depth overview! Looks delightful and more flavourful than your North America ‘melt cheese and call it a day’ varieties!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*