An Authentic Swiss Fondue Recipe
If you read my last post, you know that I spent a very short amount of time in Switzerland. That doesn’t mean the food didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. After my amazing fondue meal at Restaurant les Armures, I had to find out how to recreate that delicious meal myself. After a bit of testing, I think I’ve nailed it: an authentic Swiss fondue recipe.
What You’ll Need
There are two ways to do this: the truly authentic way, or the easy way. I’ll give you hints on how to do both.
The Authentic Way
You’ll need to hunt down a few (kinda random) things to make a truly authentic Swiss fondue. A trip to a quality wine shop or liquor store will help, as will finding a great cheese shop. And, honestly, you should probably find a great cheese shop anyway, amiright?
Here are the (slightly) random things you will need to make this authentic:
Kirsch: This is a cherry brandy that’s very popular in Switzerland, but (if you’re like me), you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s colorless, but the flavor is strong and it’s commonly served with a fondue as well as being added to the cheese mixture. You can also order it online if you don’t think your local wine shop will carry it.
Chasselas Wine: This might be pretty hard to source, since Switzerland isn’t big on exporting it’s wine. In fact, less than 2% of Switzerland’s wine production is exported outside of it’s borders. A good wine shop owner will be able to direct you to the closest alternative. This wine also is known as Fendant or Perlan, depending on which region of Switzerland it comes from. If you can’t find a Swiss version, France, Germany, New Zealand and California also grow small amounts of the Chasselas grape, so you can try your luck there (though it’s usually part of a blend and not pure).
SUPER Yummy Gruyere, Emmentaler and Comte Cheese: This is the fun part! Go to a cheese shop, and sample, sample, sample until you find the cheeses you like best. You can use any blend of these cheeses in whichever proportion you desire (though some Swiss may disagree), but the key is to find cheeses that please your palate. Fondue cheese blends vary greatly depending where you are in Switzerland, so this is where you get to put your own stamp on the recipe. Talk to your cheesemonger! You may stumble over a lesser-known type of Swiss cheese (or buy Cantal or Vacherin Fribourgeois online). It’s the best kind of experiment. Have fun!
Enameled Fondue Pot(s): You can get a traditional enamel fondue pot, or buy a set with forks and all, but you will need something you can set over a flame that won’t burn. You gotta keep that cheese melty! The bonus? You cook the dish in the pot, so no transferring hot cheese or dirtying up a ton of dishes. WIN!
The Easy Way
Skip the Kirsch: You technically don’t need this to make fondue (if I’m completely honest, I don’t really love it). But the point of this blog is to show you the true flavors of the world, so I have to put it in the recipe! If hunting it down or waiting for it come from Amazon is the bane, just skip it.
Photo: Gürkan Sengün [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio: No, you don’t have to hunt down a Swiss wine. Since you’re cooking the wine anyway, the flavor will be more or less the same once it heats up. So if hunting down obscure wines isn’t your bag (just me then?) you can pick up your favorite dry white and use that instead.
Gruyere, Comte, or Emmentaler from the Grocery Store: Sometimes, you just don’t have a cheesemonger on hand. That’s okay (sorta). Just go to your local grocery store and pick up a few blocks of whatever swiss cheese they have available and sleep secure in the knowledge that you aren’t a cheese-obsessed freak like me.
Okay! Those are your potential approaches. Let’s get down to business.
An Authentic Swiss Fondue Recipe
Serves 6 - 8 Servings
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine (such as Chasselas or Savignon Blanc)
- 1 lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
- 6 oz. Vacherin Friborgeois or Comte Cheese, grated
- 2 oz. quality Emmentaler (if you can't find a good one, use more comte), grated
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. Kirsch (optional)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda (optional)
- Pour the wine into an enameled fondue dish and add the garlic. Turn on medium-low heat until the wine is warmed and steaming, but not boiling.
- Toss the grated cheese with the cornstarch, coating the cheese.
- Add the cheese to the warmed wine-garlic mixture, and turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir the cheese constantly as it melts to ensure it's smooth. When it's smooth but not too thin, remove from heat and place on warmer.
- Whisk together the Kirsch and baking soda and add to the cheese, stirring well until fully incorporated (this step is optional).
- Serve with steamed potatoes, chunks of crusty bread, and slices of green apple.