The Christmas season is now here with the New Year not far behind. What better way to spend a simple and cosy evening than over a cheese fondue during this busy time of year. We have had in the past fondue or raclette on New Year's Eve, which was a great way to end the year. Just last weekend, on Second Advent, we had cheese fondue once again.
For a cheese fondue, the mixture and the pot used are important. One can buy the ready-to-make fondues and that can be fine; however, it is better when one adds to it. When we buy the fondue mixture, Hans always adds more of our own cheese (Emmental or Gruyere), more white wine and Kirschwasser.
The traditional ceramic-type pot or dish sits atop a burner, one using spirits, which means the pot or dish must be heatproof. If you do not have the traditional pot, use a pot that withstands good heat. You can start heating the cheese fondue in a pot on the stove and then transferring it to your fondue pot over its burner or you can start it directly over the fondue burner. Here is the recipe for the original Swiss fondue as given with our made-in-Switzerland "Spring" fondue set.
Add 1 teaspoon cornstarch to a jigger of Kirschwasser (Schnaps), stirring until the cornstarch is dissolved. (A jigger is about 4 tablespoons.) The Schnaps does add to the flavour. Kirschwasser is the traditional one used. When the cheese is bubbling, stir in the Kirschwasser/cornstarch mixture. Season according to your taste with some pepper, nutmeg and paprika.
Hans doesn't always follow recipes, but when he does use one, he adds to it and changes it to suit his own taste. It was no different with the fondue this time.
Hans' Fondue: First, he rubbed the cheese pot well with a cut garlic clove. He then melted in our fondue pot, on top of the stove at low heat, about 700 grams (1-1/4 pounds or so) of equal amounts of Emmental and Gruyere cheese, cut into pieces. (Grating the cheese, as called for, would be better as it would melt more quickly and would be easier to stir.) He added one garlic clove, minced, and some butter (not really needed). He did not use any flour or cornstarch.