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Recipes, Restaurants

Ultimate comfort food: Swiss cheese fondue

Fondue is definitely a staple when you’re in the Alps, particularly at Swiss or French resorts. There’s something about this warm, cheesy dish that is so satisfying, warming, and decadent. It feels like the ultimate comfort food.

I will be ringing in the New Year in Verbier, Switzerland with my friends, and last night we paid a visit to Chez Dany high up in the mountains for dinner. It was quite an adventure to get there; in fact the trek is complicated enough that the restaurant provides a “snow taxi” service to shuttle guests up to the restaurant…the easier way to get there for sure! Some people in our group decided to brave the freezing cold and trek to the restaurant by foot, but sadly got hampered by their car getting stuck in a ditch before their journey even began. In any case…over an hour and a half later the last few soldiers made it up in one piece and our group was finally complete (and in varying states of inebriation).

Viande séchée

Anyway, I digress. The food. I was part of the snow taxi crew that made it to the restaurant very early in the night, and while we waited for everyone else to arrive we ordered a plate of viande séchée to keep us going. This consisted of a platter of local air-dried beef served with some butter and bread..definitely a delicious amuse-bouche. For my main course I opted for -of course- the signature cheese fondue (“fondue nature”) and boy oh boy was that yummy! Skewers of bread dipped in melted, cheesey, gooey, boozey, fatty goodness – what’s not to love?! The overload of calories was definitely worth it, even given the knot of cheesey bread that is definitely still sitting in my stomach this morning. After a little bit of research, I believe I have pieced together the recipe for a basic cheese fondue. Swiss fondue is typically done moitiémoitié, or half-and-half, using two different types of cheeses. Here’s how:

Swiss mountain cheese fondue at Chez Dany in Verbier

You will need

  • 1/2 lb shredded Vacherin cheese
  • 1/2 lb shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly smashed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cherry brandy (kirsc), optional
  • Day-old baguette, cut into 1″ cubes
  • Ceramic fondue pot and fondue forks, for serving

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheeses with cornstarch to coat, and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then combine wine and lemon juice in pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Be patient with this, as melting the cheese gradually rather than all at once results in a much smoother fondue. Once smooth, stir in the kirsch, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Using the fondue forks, spear bread, dip in the hot cheese and swirl…bon appétit!

You can also make variations of this basic recipe, such as adding mushrooms or a hint of chilli flakes to the fondue. You can also use other dippers, such as vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, carrots and cauliflower work well).

We paired the meal with some white Swiss Fendent wine, and ended with a very Swiss raspberry tart (you can find a great recipe here).

Talk about a food hangover! I feel like I need to fast for a week now to counterbalance the calorie intake from last night…but it was worth every bite!

In good health,

F

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Ultimate comfort food: Swiss cheese fondue

  1. Hubby loves cheese fondue so much. I’m a bit skeptical because hubby’s Swiss uncle made it for us when we visited them in Switzerland and he put too much kirsch in it.

    Your version looks more interesting with the amazing set of ingredients that now I’m thinking of making this next week.

    Posted by Malou Prestado | December 31, 2011, 2:04 AM

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