What do we need on long, dark November evenings? Yes, comfort food of course! And what’s more comforting than melted cheese?
Last weekend, we decided to buy a special cheese fondue mixture at the autumn fair in Basel, Switzerland. The mixture contains shredded Swiss cheese and beer (a regional beer brand called “Ueli Bier”). Classical cheese fondue contains 30-50% white wine (or beer), depending on the type of alcohol you use and your personal taste. However, you can also leave it out, it will still be delicious! Below you can find a list of ingredients for a classical Swiss cheese fondue:
What you need (2 servings):
- a caquelon / fondue pot (you can also use a cast-iron pan) and a tea warmer
- 350g (about 3 cups) shredded Swiss cheese, for example Gruyére, Emmentaler or Appenzeller
- 1 garlic clove
- 150-175ml (about 1-1.5 cups) white wine or beer
- dipping foods: bread, raw vegetables, fruit
- corn flour if your cheese ends up too thin
- 1-2 tablespoons of cherry brandy
- raclette / fondue spices
How to get into cheese heaven:
Cut your bread, vegetables and fruit into bite-sized pieces. We used pretzel bread, broccoli, champignons and apples. The vegetables should be raw, as they could break apart while stirring them into the melted cheese if cooked.
Crush the garlic and coat the caquelon (or pan) with it. Add the alcohol and cheese and melt the mixture over medium heat (do not let it cook!) while constantly stirring it. We also added some raclette spices, but you can basically add whatever you like: nutmeg, pepper, or (traditonally) a dash of cherry brandy.
Once the cheese mixture is smooth, put your pan on a teapot warmer and immediately start stirring it with your bread and vegetables. Remember to always “scratch” a little on the floor of the pan with your bite sizes to make sure the cheese doesn’t burn. Traditionally, you draw the shape of the letter “8” on the bottom of the pan.
Enter cheese heaven.
Tip: Once your pan is almost empty, you will see a brownish crust on the bottom of the pan. In Switzerland, this crust is called the “grandmother” or “religieuse” and you shouldn’t miss on scratching it off and eating it, it’s delicious!