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Getting Back to the Basics of Fondue – Fun with Fondue, Issue #72
February 27, 2020

I hope your February has been full of love, chocolate, and fun! It’s hard to believe how fast 2020 is speeding by.

This month, we are going back to the basics with a traditional cheese fondue recipe and some common cheese fondue mistakes (and how to avoid them).

Monthly Fondue Tip

Cheese Fondue Mistakes

Are you wondering how to prevent cheese fondue from turning into a big lump of cheese that separates from the rest of the ingredients? Read on, my friend!

Here are a few important things to be careful with:

  1. Wine is an important ingredient (or other acidic liquid like unsweetened lemonade if you want an alcohol-free cheese fondue). Its acidity will help soften the cheese. Make sure to warm up the wine (or beer/juice) and bring it near boiling before starting to add the cheese mixture. Always use dry wines for fondue.
  2. Temperature. If you let your liquid come up to a boil, it will be too hot, and the protein in the cheese can coagulate, squeezing out the fat, which can result in a big lumpy mess. If your liquid has reached boiling point, reduce the heat and stir it a bit to cool it off before adding your cheese. You can also add a bit more alcohol (some of it will evaporate anyway, but be careful NOT to overdo it as you may not have enough cheese to compensate and the flavor may become overpowering). You know you've reached the right temperature when little bubbles start to appear in the liquid, but before these bubbles turn into a boil. Lower the heat while melting your cheese.
  3. Melt cheese a handful at a time. Use grated or small chunks of cheese and stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
  4. Cornstarch is a binding agent. Most recipes call for it because it helps the cheese bind with the liquid. You can use 1 tablespoon per pound of grated cheese. This can be done at the beginning (mixing it in with the cheese before you start to melt it) or later on (diluting the cornstarch into Kirsch or a little more wine) once the cheese has started to melt.
  5. Don't let your fondue mixture sit there. Enjoy it as soon as it's ready and keep stirring it throughout your meal by making "Figure 8" movements with your dippers.
  6. Cheese selection. If given the choice, always go for older, firmer cheeses. They tend to tolerate higher temperatures better.

Monthly Recipe Recommendation

Have a craving for cheese?

Head out to a nearby grocery store to get Jarlsberg, Gruyere, and Emmenthaler. These three Swiss cheeses are commonly used in traditional cheese fondue recipes. Feel free to experiment with dippers other than bread. Steamed vegetables, Granny Smith apple slices and cooked shrimp make excellent dippers for cheese fondue.

Here's the full recipe:

Traditional Cheese Fondue Recipe

Food For Thought

“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”

- John Kennedy Toole

That's it for now. Enjoy all the cheesy goodness! We’ll be back next month with some oil fondue tips.

Feel free to visit the site and browse through the collection of fondue recipes.

Until then, be careful with open flames and have fun with fondue!


Caroline Begin (en français)

P.S. New to meat fondue? Get the complete guide to hosting a Greek-Inspired beef broth fondue dinner today!

BestFondue volume 2: Greek-Inspired Broth Fondue

P.P.S. Or try fondue bourguignonne. Get the complete guide to hosting a French-Inspired beef oil fondue dinner today!

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