Martha’s Cheese Fondue Sauce

Martha’s Cheese Fondue Sauce

1 garlic clove

50ml / about 1/4 C. kirsh

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 lb Gruyère cheese (aged at least 8 to 12 months), shredded

1 lb. Emmenthaler or Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese, shredded (Swiss)

1 piece of ‘spreadable’ cheese, e.g. Laughing Cow

1 1/4 C. of young slightly sour white wine such as Chasselas or Sauvignon Blanc


Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove. Discard the garlic. (This optional step adds a little extra flavor to the sauce.)   Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch. Set aside.  Put the fondue pot on a medium-heat. Add the wine and cheeses. Heat while stirring, until the cheeses melt. Add the kirsch and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth and bubbly. This takes about 20 minutes.  Now, set up your fondue pot stand and burner and transfer the pot to the stand. The burner flame (or tabletop cooker) should just be hot enough that the sauce stays how and just sort of seething on the surface. Any hotter and the cheese will burn on the bottom.  Take a piece of bread, and spear it firmly on the fork so that the crust is on the outside. You can optionally lightly dip it in kirsch at this stage.  Take your speared-bread fork and stir it around in the cheese sauce. Each person should scrape the sides and the bottom of the pot at least once with each go. This prevents the cheese sauce from sticking or burning on the sides. None of that namby-pamby dip-and-go!  Here the bread being used to scrape off the cheese bits that stick to the surface of the pot. Now you see why a rounded-sides pot is ideal; a pot with sharp angles is much harder to scrape around properly.  If you do insist on dipping other things into the sauce, you will just want to dip those lightly, but still use the bread for that stir-wipe action.  (A point of etiquette: Pull the bread off the fork with your teeth, trying not to touch the fork itself with your mouth. And absolutely no double-dipping!)  As the cheese sauce gets less and less, it will get thicker. It’s important to keep stirring-wiping. You may gradually want to lower the flame’s intensity if you can too.  When there’s just a little cheese left in the pot, turn off the heat. Keep scraping off the cheese. If you’ve done it right, you’ll just be left with a small circle of burnt on cheese, which you can carefully pry off. The burned bit is considered to be the final treat of a fondue. A generous cook may cut it up and share it, but a more selfish one (cough) will just pop the whole thing in her mouth.  So, there you have it. A proper Swiss cheese fondue, eaten the Swiss way.

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