Fondue is the ultimate cold weather meal in my book. It was supposedly invented by Swiss shepherds who would cook the cheese over rocks in the Alps. Fondue means “melted” in French. This recipe goes back to my childhood and is especially close to my heart because it comes from a cookbook compiled by patrons of the American Hospital of Paris, where I was born.
One fun fact about fondue is that each fondue-loving family has a series of “punishments” for those unfortunate diners who drop their bread into the dish. Punishments might include having to hop around the table on one leg or kissing the person to your left. It’s best to get the ground rules straight before you start. 🙂
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/4 lbs best Swiss cheese (like Gruyere), cut in small cubes
2 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS kirsch (optional)
freshly ground pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg
French bread, cubed (crustier the better)
Rub chaffing dish with garlic. Add wine and heat to boiling point on stovetop, but do not boil. Add cheese, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. When cheese is melted and creamy, add cornstarch blended with kirsch. Stir until bubbly and add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Place pot over burner with low flame (burner comes with fondue pot) to keep fondue hot but not at simmering point. Add wine if necessary to dilute.
If fondue should start to separate, place pot back on stove and add a few drops of lemon juice. Over high heat, bring the fondue back to a boil, stirring vigorously. Serves about 8 people.