How to Fondue

It is that time of year again, folks, the blessed Day of Melty Cheese and Bread – fondue party time! In this newsletter, I wanted to prep you before the fondue party on Saturday so you have a little background on what you’re eating. I’m going to keep our rotating fondue recipes a surprise, but let’s get into the other recipe, the one we do every year, the one we call Divine Alpine because it really is heavenly. 

But first, we history! Since I’ve already written about fondue a couple times, this will be a quick and dirty refresher. While shepherds have been melting cheese onto old bread up in mountain huts for centuries, Switzerland didn’t lay claim to the dish until the 1930s. With a surplus of cheese after World War I, the Swiss Cheese Union made fondue the national dish to promote cheese consumption in the country and abroad. 

The fondue craze took off in the USA after the Swiss brought it to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. And then the 70s happened and the more kitchen appliances that could be avocado green the better! The trend didn’t last long. Many fondue pots now find themselves gathering dust in the basement beside the milk frother, pizza scissors, and, soon, the spiralizer (my prediction is that spiralizing stuff doesn’t last 2019, you can quote me on that). However, we think it’s time for a fondue comeback because it is an excellent, easy, warming winter meal as the temperature drops (Hello, Polar Vortex, we did not miss ye). 

So back to Divine Alpine… The recipe includes Challerhocker, Gruyère, and Schnebelhorn, three are Swiss cheeses that melt beautifully and each bring something special to the fondue. Challerhocker, made by cheese rock star Walter Rass – we’ll circle back to him at some point because he definitely deserves his own newsletter – is the sharpest of the three cheeses, adding brightness to the mix. The gruyère we have right now is Gruyère 1655, one of our favorites, for its brown butter, salty depth. We are always excited when we receive a full wheel of the 1655 because it is 73 pounds and when standing on its edge is about 2 1/2 feet tall, so breaking it down to fit in the cheese case is not only empowering as hell, but also a workout! With 1-2 years of age, this gruyère adds textural structure to the fondue, making it gooey, but not too liquidy. Finally, Schnebelhorn is the smoothest and funkiest of the three, bringing a little bit of pizazz and a lot of richness to this traditional fondue. Together, these cheeses make a fondue we crave year after year. 

So come by THIS Saturday 3pm-6pm to taste Divine Alpine, our new fondue recipe, and raclette! If you can’t make it, we are happy to give you recipes to add to your own cooking repertoire. Luscious, toasty, cheesy fondue, you’ll have people sprinting to your table, so be ready!
For the love of cheese and especially melted cheese,