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    Cheese Fondue

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    Cheese Fondue

    Swiss cheese fondue can be the food of the (Alpine) Gods, writes Eva King, but you should follow a few basic rules if you want to enjoy the real après-ski experience. Few things are more comforting than a classic Swiss cheese fondue - chunks of crusty bread swirled in bubbling cheese. Reminiscent of dinner parties of days gone by, this retro classic was invented for sharing with friends.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 10 minutes
    • Total time: 25 minutes 25 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 clove garlic, halved
    • 350ml dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
    • 300g Gruyère cheese, grated
    • 300g Emmental cheese, grated
    • 3 tsp cornflour
    • 2-3 tbsp Kirsch
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • To serve
    • 1 large baguette, cut into bite-sized cubes

    Method

    1. Rub the cut side of the garlic clove around the inside of your fondue pot. Discard the garlic.
    2. Add the wine and bring it to the boil on a medium heat on the stove. Turn the heat down and add the cheese in handfuls, stirring until it melts.
    3. Mix the cornflour with the Kirsch, and stir into the cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until it is thick and creamy, then remove from the heat. Add pepper to taste.
    4. Fondue should have a smooth, thick-sauce texture. If it is too thin, add more cheese, or stir in a little more cornflour, blended with wine. If it's too thick, stir in warmed white wine. If the fondue separates, keep stirring and it should recover. If not, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a teaspoon of cornflour dissolved in wine.
    5. Move the pot to a burner on the table. Stirring often to keep the fondue smooth, spear the bread on fondue forks and dunk into the cheese.

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    Cook's tips

    A fondue needs the right cheese. Those mentioned in this recipe are the most popular, but you can use Vacherin or Appenzeller instead of the Emmental. You could also use a French Comté or Beaufort, but don't use Cheddar - it won't give the authentic, stringy texture.

    Fondue sets, such as this one by Le Creuset that includes a pot, burner and forks (£61) are available from John Lewis.

    It's traditional to dip bread in fondue but you could try lightly blanched broccoli and cauliflower, or crisp celery or chicory.

    Try a green salad with your fondue. Other nibbles can include cornichons, silverskin pickled onions and cured meats.

    The Italian version of fondue is called fonduta. It is made with Fontina cheese and egg yolks.

    White wine is great with fondue, but don't serve it too cold. This can cause the fondue to solidify in the gut, leading to stomach ache.

    You could try substituting half the cheese with a blue variety, or adding chopped shallots, green peppercorns or diced ham at the same time as the cheese.

    Fondue Bourguignonne is the classic meat fondue that involves lowering cubes of beef into hot oil. Sweet fondues made with chocolate or caramel are delicious with marshmallows or fruit.

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