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In this post, I’ll teach you how to make an Authentic Swiss Fondue. They’re quite easy to prepare, once you have the right ingredients, and understand a bit of technique. I can make that claim, “Authentic Swiss Fondue”, because I used to live in Switzerland, and made it a point to eat fondue as often as possible. And I also made it a point to learn how the Swiss prepare theirs.
The original name for this post, before I understood that I’d actually be driving readers away in droves, was Rubber Cement Fondue. That was because if you don’t understand that aforementioned technique? It’s entirely possible you could make the same mistake I did, last time I made one.
Now, that fondue actually it turned out to be quite delicious, but on the particular batch you will see pictured in this post, I learned an important lesson that I will pass along to you, so that you can make a really delicious, authentically Swiss fondue, and avoid the whole unpleasant rubber cement issue.
How I Learned to Make An Authentic Swiss Fondue
This post had its beginnings when I lived in Switzerland. I was attending the University of Lausanne, studying French, and serving as a missionary apprentice. My two roommates (Donna and Val) and I were working for a Ukrainian missionary who did short wave radio broadcasts preaching the gospel to the people of Ukraine (which at that time was still what we used to call behind the Iron Curtain). The missionary also pastored a French speaking congregation there in Lausanne, Switzerland, and so we came to serve him and his family and the congregation there.
As you can imagine, living in Switzerland for a couple of years is not exactly serving the underprivileged, and we LOVED having the opportunity to live there. Donna and Val became like sisters to me, and even now, when we get together every few years or so, we fall back into the same easy, loving friendship. Here’s a picture of the three of us, gathered around the old fondue pot in my purple kitchen in the Boonies. My little girl was so little, back then!
While living in Switzerland, we did a lot of first hand research into how to make a really great fondue. One thing Donna and Val learned on their first trial run, before I arrived, was that if you don’t have white wine, you really can’t substitute red wine in your fondue recipe, or you will have pink fondue. Which might be kind of fun for a winter baby shower where you know the sex of the baby, but really, apart from that, it’s probably not an innovation that’s likely to be much in demand.
Fondue Recipes Differ By Their Region of Origin
The next thing we learned is that every region in Switzerland has its own special fondue recipe variation, and of course, each region believes that theirs is the MOST delicious, but the recipe I’ll offer you is fairly standard, and is a guaranteed winner. That is, if you avoid the mistake that I made the night these pictures were taken.
More about that in a few moments.
What is Kirsch?
You will notice that kirsch is a listed ingredient. Also called kirschwasser, kirsch is a clear, cherry brandy. It’s available in most any liquor store here in the States, but you may need to ask for help locating it.
I know this, because I found it in the liquor store here in the Boonies, so, if we have it here, I figure it must be available just about anywhere else in the US.
What Kind of Cheese Do I Need to Make a Swiss Fondue?
You will need two beautiful Swiss cheeses: a Swiss Gruyère and an Emmentaler. There just is no compromising on the cheeses. I tried some American Emmentaler from Trader Joe’s two times ago when I made a fondue, and it was wrong – it was just wrong. There can be no further discussion of this point as far as I am concerned. I can generally find my Gruyère at Costco, and my Emmenthaler at Kroger.
The Swiss Eat Fondue in the Winter
This is a perfect recipe for a cold winter’s night, which is why I am telling you about it in January,
The Swiss will serve it in the summertime in restaurants, but they will first look at you incredulously, and then, perhaps, somewhat sorrowfully. However, they’re very polite, and will gladly take your Euros all the same.
When Donna and Val came to visit me in June, we had a fondue, and it was lovely, so feel free to ignore the Swiss prejudice, and serve it any time you darn well please.
Without further ado, then, here is how to make lovely, non-rubber cement-like,
Authentic Swiss Fondue Recipe
- 1 garlic clove, halved and smashed
- 2/3 c. dry white wine
- 1 t. fresh lemon juice
- 10 oz. Emmenthaler cheese, grated
- 10 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 3 T. kirsch
- Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 lb. loaf French bread, cubed
- Rub the inside of a 4 qt. saucepan with the smashed garlic clove halves, and then rub the inside of your fondue dish as well. Discard the garlic. (chunks of uncooked garlic are not tasty in a fondue)
- Pour the wine and the lemon juice into the saucepan, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Gradually add the cheeses, stirring in a figure-eight motion until the cheeses are combined., 3 or 4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and kirsch until blended.
- As soon as the cheese mixture begins to bubble, add the cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook gently, 2 to 3 minutes more, then stir in the white pepper and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low and keep the fondue warm, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, assemble the fondue pot, add the cheese fondue to the pot and keep warm according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve with bread cubes and individually marked fondue forks for dipping.
- This recipe barely feeds my family of four, and leaves them whining for more, because they can be somewhat gluttonous when the food is good.
*****HOW TO AVOID RUBBER CEMENT FONDUE*****
Be sure, before you transfer the melted cheese mixture to the fondue pot, that the cheese is not just barely melted, but is GOOD and HOT.
You don't want it so hot that it separates and breaks down (which is another way of getting it wrong), but if it is only barely melted, it will be so thick you will believe from its texture that it IS rubber cement.
If it IS rubber cement-like, you will need to find a pair of scissors to detach the bread cubes from the glutinous mass of cheese in the fondue pot.
It is good for quite a few belly laughs, but not nearly as appetizing.
If perchance, despite my warning, this DOES happen to you, as the fondue heats up over the fondue pot's burner, it will eventually relax, and still be just as delicious. Don't ask me how I know. Just accept this for the truth that it is.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 929Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 1654mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 50g