Fondues are a traditional Swiss meal (after all, how better to use all that cheese!) and are a wonderfully interactive way to entertain a group of friends. They come in several varieties including oil-based, chocolate and cheese, which is the one we’re focussing on here.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you don’t have a proper fondue set, you can use long bamboo skewers and a smallish crock-pot or even an ordinary heat-proof bowl over some hot water to keep the sauce warm.
Prepare all your dipping ingredients beforehand then arrange them in bowls so your guests can take their pick. The pieces should be bite-sized and completely dry otherwise the dip may slide off.
What to dip
You can dip anything that goes well with cheese, for example:
- Bread – dense rather than crumbly (day-old works well)
- Cooked meat like ham, mini-meatballs or cocktail sausages
- Cooked baby potatoes
- Lightly steamed cauliflower or broccoli
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red pepper
There are many different recipes for cheese dip from simple to extravagant. Here’s an easy budget version to serve 4:
¾c beer or chicken stock
1t mild mustard
2t Worcester sauce
½ garlic clove, finely chopped (optional)
±200g cheese – slightly matured cheddar, or a mix or cheddar and Emmentaler
Pour the beer or stock into a heavy-based pot or a double boiler. Add the mustard, Worcester sauce and garlic and warm on low heat. While you wait, grate the cheese and mix it well with the flour.
When the liquid just starts to simmer, turn the heat down to low. Then add about a quarter of the cheese and whisk well. Once that’s melted – keep whisking – add the next quarter of the cheese and whisk again. Continue adding the remaining quarters and whisking until you have a smooth sauce, which could take about 10 minutes. If the mix starts to thicken too much, add a bit more beer.