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COOKING: POSTED 29 JULY 2015

Today's recipe comes from Roberta Muir, who is manager of the Sydney Seafood School at the Sydney Fish Markets (www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au) and passionate gastronome who runs www.food-wine-travel.com.

CHEESE FONDUE

This Saturday (1 August) is Swiss National Day so, especially as I’m married to a Swiss, it seems appropriate to celebrate with a traditional fondue. It’s easy, delicious and great for a casual get together.

Start with a platter of cold cuts and cornichons (prosciutto and bresaola are closest to the rohschinken and bündnerfleisch you’d have in Switzerland) and finish with coffee and chocolates.

Although the Swiss love their chocolate, they don’t traditionally melt it and dunk strawberries into it.

In Switzerland, fondue is always made with cheese, though the types of cheese and alcohol vary from canton to canton.

This is the classic fondue from Franz’s home canton of Berne. If you don’t happen to have a fondue set lying around from the 1970s, you can buy one online from The Red Cow (www.theredcow.com.au), though you’re unlikely to get it by Saturday. Their list of stockists will also tell you where you can get hold of some vacherin fribourgeois, which can be tricky to find (use Heidi Tisit if you can’t get it).

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4-6:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and bruised
  • 2 baguettes, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 3 teaspoons cornflour
  • 150ml kirsch
  • 300g Swiss Gruyère, grated
  • 300g Vacherin Fribourgeois, grated
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

DETAILS

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Also, please pay attention to the rules for eating cheese fondue:

  • Drink only white wine, schnapps (eau de vie) or tea (never water or red wine or you’ll end up with indigestion)
  • At the table stir the fondue clockwise.
  • Anyone who drops their bread into the pot must buy a round of drinks or kiss the person to their left.

METHOD

Rub the fondue pot (called a caquelon) with the garlic clove, then discard garlic. Place bread on the table alongside the stand for the pot. Fill the stand with methylated spirit, light it and adjust heat to low – once the fondue is ready everything else must be ready to go.

Dissolve the cornflour in the kirsch and set aside.

Add gruyère, vacherin and wine to the fondue pot, place over a low heat on the stove and stir until the cheese has melted.

Stir in pepper and nutmeg then add the kirsch mixture, increase heat to medium, and stir vigorously until well combined and smooth.

Place the caquelon on the stand and ask diners to immediately spear a piece of bread on their forks and start stirring and eating; the fondue needs to be stirred constantly by the diners so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

When all the cheese is eaten, the brown crust on the bottom of the pot is the most prized part.

A Guete (that’s ‘bon appetite’ in Swiss).