Back in the 1970s, fondue was all the rage, with bubbling fondue pots being the star at many a chic get-together around the country. While no longer the fad du jour it used to be, I happen to think that an old-fashioned, cozy fondue party is a fabulous way to gather with friends as the days get colder and shorter!
My fondue is simple to make. You don’t need any special equipment—just a heavy-bottomed, heat-proof pan that you can set over a small candle or a sterno can. Fondue is traditionally served with a crusty bread, but I also love to pair it with a medley of perfectly roasted potatoes. Did you also know that you can prepare fondue in advance? You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and reheat in a pan with a few splashes of white wine or heavy cream just before serving. This dish is comfort food and a soirée starter all in one. Add a bottle (or two) of a bold red wine, a big green salad with my French Bistro Vinaigrette, really fun friends, and you’re all set!
- Gruyere – 14 ounces, freshly grated
- Fontina – 3 ounces – freshly grated
- Flour – 2 tablespoons, all-purpose
- Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted
- Shallots – ¾ cup, ¼” diced
- Thyme – 1 teaspoon, finely minced, fresh
- Garlic – 4 cloves, thinly sliced
- Nutmeg – ⅛ teaspoon, freshly grated
- Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon
- Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked
- White Wine – 1 ½ cups, Chardonnay recommended
- In a large bowl, combine both cheeses and the flour and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Next, in a medium heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat, add the butter. Once hot add the shallots and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally until the shallots are translucent. Add the garlic, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and cook for 60 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Pour in the wine and allow it to come to a boil.
- Finally, add the cheese mixture in small handfuls and whisk briskly until smooth before adding in more cheese. Repeat this step until all of the cheese has been added.
- Transfer the fondue to a heat-proof pan set over a candle or sterno can to keep warm and serve immediately. If the fondue gets a little thick as it sits, add a splash of wine.
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind
- Make sure to measure the cheese after cutting away the rind for the most accurate measurement.
- I like to garnish the fondue with a sprig of fresh thyme and a few of the leaves for a simple, but beautiful presentation.
If you’re going for red, a Pinot Noir like the Montes Alpha Pinot Noir will pair well with the creamy cheeses. The elegant palate doesn’t overwhelm the cheese, yet it’s bold enough to match this hearty dish (let’s be honest, a meal based on cheese is substantial!).
As for whites, a light and crisp Chardonnay that counterbalances the creaminess of the cheese is your best bet, such as Louis Jadot Petit Chablis.