We think there is something utterly luxurious and convivial about serving fondue. When temperatures drop we instinctively long for a cauldron of molten deliciousness. As you might imagine, life as a cheesemonger has involved many a fondue and we are now accomplished fonduers. Read on to discover our tips and suggestions for creating the perfect fondue evening.
To avoid the mix splitting, you want to ensure that at least half of the cheese mix is "good stretchy melting cheese". For this we tend to turn to British or Irish cheeses inspired by continental cheeses, such as Templegall, Coolea, Ogleshield and Lincolnshire Poacher. The Swiss tradition of moitié-moitié, or half and half would then have you add a soft washed rind style cheese. We'd suggest that Durrus, Gubbeen, Winslade, Evenlode or Little Rollright might all be a good option. You don't necessarily need to be confined to the half and half rule however. Once you have your good base in place, you can be a bit more flexible with the other half of your mix. Making fondue is also a brilliant way to use up the tasty odds and ends of cheese you may have lurking in the back of your fridge. We're not averse to going wild and adding a wedge of Stichelton if the notion takes us.
Traditionally, garlic is wiped around the base of the pan to give the entire dish a subtle hint of its flavour, but we often skip this in favour of letting the cheese flavours predominate.
Back in the day when we had fondue sessions in our tasting room above our Borough Market shop, the cheeses below were the base combination we tended to use. We relished creating an extravagant platter of accompaniments for our guests. We've listed ideas here, but don't feel under pressure to go all out. So long as you have your crusty bread and a glass of something tasty alongside you'll have a very delicious meal.
Serves 4-6 people
Chunks of crusty sourdough bread
Boiled or roasted baby potatoes
Chunks or crispy raw vegetables- we like carrots, peppers, fennel, some florets of cauliflower and broccoli
Slices of apple and pear
Dried fruits, like figs and dates
Pickles, especially crispy cornichons
Cured meats, we buy from our former colleague Adrienne at Crown and Queue
300ml dry white wine
2 tsp Kirsch
About 1.2kg of cheese:
circa 500g Lincolnshire Poacher (rind removed and cubed)
Have your accompaniments ready to serve.
Heat the wine in a deep heavy-based pan over a low heat until it begins to simmer.
Add the cheeses in order, a little at a time, whisking or stirring vigorously and allowing to melt before adding more. Keep stirring until smooth.
Dissolve the cornflour in the kirsch and stir in.
Transfer to a fondue set or heatproof pan set over a tea light and tuck in immediately.