Fondue is one of those participatory foods that makes for great party fare, and I find it ideal for New Year’s Eve.  It is impossible to avoid chatting up your neighbors while you are all dipping things into molten cheese.  Traditional fondue etiquette requires that any woman who drops a tidbit into the cheese must kiss her fondue neighbors, while a man who loses control of his skewer must buy the host a bottle of wine.  We run an equal-opportunity household here, so the kissing rule applies to everyone.  It seems fair.

Cheese Fondue

Fondue often includes the addition of flour or cornstarch to help keep the cheese emulsified, but it isn’t essential and it is a relatively modern addition to the dish.  If you skip the starch, as I do, you simply need to keep the fondue warm so the cheese stays fluid.  As people dip, they will be stirring the pot, so to speak, and it will all stay warm and goopy and wonderful.  I used a blend of Gruyere and Fontina for this batch, but you can substitute other favorite cheeses.  Amounts here are for a party-sized batch, but you can cut the recipe in half for a smaller group.

Cheese Fondue

Because the foundation of this experience is a vat of melted cheese and wine, I like to keep the dippers on the light side.  I used raw radishes, cherry tomatoes, and peppers, strips of grilled mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and some boiled red potatoes, cut into wedges.  Bread cubes are traditional, but I don’t do bread, so add or subtract items as you like.

Classic Cheese Fondue
Recipe type: Party, Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (optional, but adds a smooth finish and a nice flavor)
  • Assorted bite-sized dippers (raw vegetables, artichoke hearts, olives, mushrooms, boiled potatoes)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, cook the white wine over medium heat, stirring in the cheeses a little at a time, until all of the cheese is melted into the wine. It will clump at first, but will melt fully as you keep stirring. Stir in the dry mustard, white pepper, and creme fraiche, and keep the fondue warm until ready to serve. You can use a small crockpot to keep it at temperature, or to serve buffet-style.
  2. Transfer some of the fondue to a fondue pot and let people dip items of their choice. Refill as needed.

Cheese Fondue

Leftover fondue is great served on steamed cauliflower or green beans, for a classy side dish.  One can never have too much melted cheese in the house.

Thanks for reading,

-Angela

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10 Comments

  1. Mmmmnnn! I loooove fondue. You reminded me that I have to make some.

    1. Since I pulled out the fondue pot I think I will make it again–fun food.

  2. I bought a fondue pot a couple of years ago on clearance dreaming of many nights of dipping and drinking with neighbors and friends. This is yet to happen but your post has me all stirred up again. Love this recipe. I can’t wait to give it a try.

    1. Karen, I quite literally had to dust it off–but now I have big plans to use it again 🙂

  3. This looks lovely! I will bookmark. I have a fondue pot and the skewers, courtesy of my parents, when fondue was definitely a mainstay of that day.

    1. I’m going to try a cheddar version soon–maybe with smoked paprika. I want to keep the pot dusted off 🙂

  4. What a wonderful fondue recipe! I agree, fondue is always a conversation sparker. It’s one of those dishes that has come full circle. I remember it being very popular many years ago…who doesn’t love gooey, melted cheese!

  5. I LOVE fondue! It’s such a decadent treat. I like your idea of using veggie dippers – makes it a little less of a guilty pleasure. Happy New Year!

    1. It’s one of my favorite party foods–something really festive about dipping stuff in a vat of hot cheese…

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