Last week was spring break for us, and to celebrate the (near) end of it, I invited a few friends over for a “Moms Need Spring Break, Too!” party. Because after being home with children who can’t run and play outside as we planned due to the fickle weather for a week, we need some quiet and sanity. What better to provide it than a fondue party? So yes, I made fondue – both cheese and chocolate – along with my guacamole and buffalo chicken dip. There were some happy mommies leaving my house.
I rarely make fondue, but only because Mister Man won’t eat anything cheese and Little Miss can’t eat dairy because of her allergy. This is perfect party food because it takes minimal prep and is ready super fast. Plus, it’s another one that looks like you worked really hard even though you didn’t.
Traditional Cheese Fondue
1 pound Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese, shredded (or Jarlsberg or toss in a little goat or white cheddar for a fun extra flavor)
2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 c dry white wine (I used a Chardonnay – use a wine you’d want to drink)
1/8 c kirsch (optional if you don’t have any and don’t want to buy any, but it’s a perfect finishing touch)
nutmeg and pepper to taste
If you have a fondue pot, awesome (I love my electric one because I can control the heat really well). If not, you can do this in a heavy pot on the stove.
Mix together the shredded cheese (I shred it myself with my Cuisinart’s shredding attachment because it’s fast and easy, but please buy a block of cheese and shred yourself one way or another; it makes a difference!) and cornstarch and set it aside for a few minutes. You want this prep done first.
Heat the wine and kirsch together until they start to steam but do not let it boil. Turn down the heat just a little bit, then add a small handful of cheese and stir until melted. Keep adding cheese and stirring until it’s incorporated until all your cheese is gone. If you add a hunk of cheese at one time, you will have a hunk of cheese and the liquid alcohol and it will be very hard to incorporate properly (although it is possible to do so if you make a mistake, but it takes patience and a really good whisk). Once your cheese is fully incorporated and smooth, add nutmeg and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately while still hot. I serve mine with chunks of bread and apples, along with baby carrots. It always goes quickly. This enough for a main-ish course for four people or up to eight people as an appetizer. And if there are leftovers? Yes, you can reheat it and enjoy it yourself the next day, just reheat it in small servings so you don’t burn the cheese or cause it to separate.