Cheese fondue is said to have originated on Alpine farms as a way to feed a family inexpensively; the original version was simply stale bread dipped in melted Gruyère. Fondue became so popular that it was named the national dish of Switzerland in the 1930s. Now, this concoction of melted cheese is a decadent way to celebrate chilly winter nights. It features melted Gruyère along with other Swiss cheese; Emmentaler, Vacherin Fribougeois, Appenzeller, and Raclette are blended in, depending on the region and personal preferences. Splashes of kirsch and wine, and a bit of garlic are the traditional seasonings, but you can add a few chopped herbs, a swirl of mustard, or a spoonful of toasted spices if you like.
Oh how we have a love for all things Swiss French and cheesy. We visited Spain recently and met up with some dear friends who are French and had us over for a vintage raclette party with a topping and cheese selection that could make you audibly gasp. I love how both a giant pot of fondue or raclette can bring a whole table together in conversation and gossip -such a fun and interactive dinner party. When we visited Switzerland a few years ago my jaw dropped to the floor when they read the total.. $87 for a pot of cheese. The most Bubbling Boiling Stringiest and Richest cheese we have ever had and on one of the chilliest coldest nights we've ever experienced. And did we gobble it up in no time. This cute fondue restaurant sat at the end of a very long pier overlooking the city of Geneva. The wine was strong and the emmental was stronger. Pearl Onions, Gherkin Pickles, Pears and Prosciutto, French bread and Home made croutons are our favorite things to dip.
Of course left over honey baked ham or roasted veggies are delicious as well. Here are a few recipes we've loved over the years as well as a shopping list and items for your table to make it memorable and fun!
Favorite things to dip+accompany fondue/raclette
Thick cut ham
Spicy Italian sausage sliced+browned
Roasted+heavily seasoned potato wedges
Steamed giant Yukon gold potatoes
Puff pastry cheese twists
Bread sticks+fresh Croutons+French bread
Home made Pretzels
I like to include atleast one or two of each of these items a couple meat options, bread, fruit and veggie.
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We love these raclette grills so we bought 2!
Modular table setting in three materials, metal melamine and wood. Perfect for portioning out sides
If you only need one, buy this one also doubles for a griddle and you can make pancakes, crepes, french toast on it etc this is the original raclette grill by Swissmar
These green double-walled glasses by YIELD provide insulation suitable for use with hot or cold drinks.
Love adding these 6oz double walled glasses along side larger water glasses for a specialty drink or punch
We used this wooden mug tree to hold our pretzles
Get two of these cheese boards one for savory and one for sweet
This gorgeous marble+wood cheese board is on sale right now $25 instead of $40
Great round charcuterie board same day shipping and on sale for $17
These real sheep skin rug throws kept us nice and cozy+warm and add an element of lux
These collect-all nesting trays made of wood metal and melamine are great for just about anything. Love for an entry way for keys and emptying out pockets of doodads and treasures. Bedside for jewelry, watches, earbuds, snacks.
These rad medium size metal basket sets with leather detail are all form and function. Comes in 5 shades and two sizes.
Scandinavian red+white table cloth similar to the ones I got from ikea.
Large Tea towels come in 4 two toned color ways woven in France and made of linen
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Favorite cheese options for melting+Recipe for our favorite fondue
Raclette- hard to find but ask your French friends
Plan to buy 3 of these and atleast 8oz of each cheese and make sure you get pre sliced to help with party prep and to keep things looking consistent. A pre-done cheese platter isn't a terrible idea though you most likely will only want to eat two of the options. Unless it's a specialty cheese, arrange those on a separate platter. Keep in mind soft cheeses like Brie get a little messy-serve on a bed of kale/dark left greens.
Here is the "Wow I have everything on hand for a last min fondue party" recipe.
Simple FONDUE recipe
1 clove garlic
1+1/4 cup white wine (you can sub for sparkling cider just use half and don't cook down )
1 16oz jar best Alfredo you can find (trick question)
8oz Swiss shredded cheese or Italian blend
Nutmeg- a grind or three over the top
RUB garlic around the edges of a heavy large saucepan. POUR in wine and simmer on med heat for 2 minutes- until reduced to half. Whisk in Alfredo sauce. Gradually add cheese, whisking until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Transfer mixture to a fondue pot+serve with bread and potatoes and favorite veggies
Be careful when dipping: The person who loses their garnish in the pot usually has to pay a penalty to the rest of the people at the table, like buy a round of drinks, or clean up after the meal. After you eat the melted cheese, the layer at the bottom of the pot cooks into a crust, called a religieuse, that is a reward for the table and eaten at the end of the meal.
Classic Fondue Recipe:
1 garlic clove, halved
1 pound Gruyère cheese-grated
1/2 pound Emmentaler cheese-grated
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Rub the inside of a cheese fondue pot or medium cast-iron pot with the garlic clove; discard the garlic.
Combine the grated Gruyère and Emmentaler with the wine, cornstarch and lemon juice in the fondue pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses begin to melt, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add the kirsch and a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes; don't overcook the fondue or it will get stringy. Serve immediately