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How to make perfect cheese fondue (plus recipes)

Master the art of the perfect cheese fondue with our step-by-step guide, then try one of our three great recipes

Fondue is a cheese-fiend’s desert island dish. Here at olive we don’t even need a day on the ski-slopes to justify diving into a gently bubbling pot of molten cheesy loveliness. But if you want to get it right there’s a few tiny little rules you should stick to. And remember NO double dipping!

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the equipment

A traditional fondue pot or caquelon is made of either iron or earthenware but any heavy-bottomed pot would work. A small Le Creuset casserole or similar is just right for the job.


the cheese

The most classic mix of fondue cheese is a combination of Gruyere and Emmenthal as both melt beautifully. Emmenthal on its own is quite bland and Gruyere can be a bit overpowering but together they make fondue magic. Other cheeses can be used; try Beaufort, Vacherin, Camembert, Reblochon, Comte or Tome de Savoie.


the booze

Whether you use kirsch, dry white wine or another booze it’s there for a reason. The tartaric acid present keeps the cheese proteins from clumping together and splitting the fondue. You can also add a squeeze of lemon to help this along.


more booze!

Drink fondue with white wine or hot black tea as the Swiss do. Either drink is designed to stop the cheese compacting into a solid mass in your stomach (cold beer is usually avoided because of this).


keep it moving

Stir the fondue now and again in a figure of eight using a wooden spoon. Keeping it on the move will stop it becoming too lumpy and sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it gets too thick, stir in a little wine you’ve heated on the stove, but don’t ever let the fondue boil.


eat every bit

As you get to the end of the fondue there will be a crusty layer of cheese on the bottom. People have been known to fight over this bit so DON”T waste it.


what to dip

Use a crusty, day-old bread cut into bite-sized chunks for dipping (you need to get that whole thing in your mouth at once!). Alternatively lightly bake chunks of fresh bread first. You need the bread to have a bit of crunch so it can hold up against the cheese. If you want to be a bit healthier, crisp veg sticks, radicchio, cornichons and baby pickled onions can be used as dippers.


Hungry now? Try one of our three fantastic fondue recipes below…

Classic cheese fondue

This traditional Swiss recipe uses Gruyere and Emmenthal cheeses flavoured with dry white wine and a splash of kirsch.


Smoky mac ‘n’ cheese fondue

Pasta and fondue? Why not! This super-indulgent dish takes humble mac ‘n’ cheese to the next level.

Gruyere and cider fondue

A twist on the traditional uses a splash of good cider instead of wine – serve with pickled veg for dipping.


This week digital intern Amanda finds out what Jimmy Doherty thinks makes the perfect fish and chips (it includes LOTS of vinegar); web editor Alex gets a lesson in Icelandic food and booze from Texture’s Aggi Sverrisson and food director Janine meets up with cheesemonger Morgan McGlynn to talk about some quirky new British cheeses (Yorkshire pecorino anyone?).

olive magazine podcast ep68 – Fish ‘n’ chips, cheesemaking and Icelandic cuisine

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