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Gruyère Fondue : Valentine’s Day

For me, Valentine’s day is about doing something a little out of the ordinary with those you love.   And for us, Fondue is out of the ordinary!

Truthfully, I received a fondue pot as a gift at Christmas.  It was time to break it in.  Having never owned an electric fondue pot, I was unaware of a few things…(and I’ll try to make this not sound like a commercial!)  First, did you know that you can make the fondue right in the pot.  My parents always had the Sterno-heated fondue pot, so the fondue was made on the stove-top and then poured into the fondue pot and kept warm while we lunged for hot cheese with bread or fruit speared on long pointy forks…family activity, of course!  Also, this fondue pot (by Cuisinart) is fully immersible in water – therefore cleaning is incredibly simple…and the plug is attached magnetically…so if, let’s say, a dog was startled and jumped up quickly, making a run for the back door…the chance of the entire fondue pot being yanked off the table and onto the carpet by the cord catching on said dog’s leg…is very low.  All of these features won me over and it is my new favorite appliance!

I had a little trouble finding one ingredient for the fondue…Kirsch or Kirschwasser.  This is an important flavor aspect for the fondue and a tablespoon is added just before serving.  It’s a cherry brandy or eau de vie and is made in the Alsace region of France near the German border.

We used two types of cheese, Gruyère and Emmental, and used dipped cubed baguette and crisp apples.  We served a light dry Riesling from Firestone Vineyards along with it and enjoyed the evening!

Woody insisted that Cleo get a treat or two as well…here she is devouring one of her dental chew bones.

1 pound Gruyère cheese (not processed), grated
¾ pound Emmenthal cheese, grated
6 teaspoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled, cut in half
2¼ cups dry white wine (not chardonnay)
2½ tablespoons Kirschwasser

Place the grated cheeses in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the cornstarch and dry mustard and toss to coat the grated cheese completely. Reserve.
Rub the bottom and lower half of the sides Fondue Pot with the cut sides of the garlic cloves. Add the wine to the Fondue Pot. Turn the temperature to Setting 5 and bring the wine to a strong simmer (bubbling, but not boiling strongly). While stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or non-stick whisk, gradually whisk in the grated cheeses, sprinkling in one handful at a time, and not adding any more cheese until the cheese is completely melted and smooth. The mixture will slowly thicken. When the cheese is completely added, stir in the Kirschwasser and serve. Reduce the temperature setting of the Fondue Pot, the fondue should just simmer, it should never boil.

Serve with cubed bread, apples, pears and even crisp veggies – Enjoy!

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