Cheese fondue

Perfect for a cold winter evening, this classic Swiss fondue from Jane Lawson really hits the spot
Cheese fondue
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 250 ml dry, sparking white wine, preferably Swiss Neuchatel or champagne, (see Cooks note)
  • 300 g gruyère cheese, finely diced
  • 200 g emmenthal, finely diced
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1 ½ tsp kirsch, or other mild-flavoured white spirit
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

For dipping

  • cubes of firm bread, such as baguette, rye or pumpernickel
  • meat, such as cubes of ham and pieces of salami or small cooked prawns
  • vegetables, such as sliced of raw crisp fennel, pepper or carrot, or lightly cooked baby potatoes, mushrooms or asparagus
  • pickles, such as cornichons, caperberries or pickled onions

Tips and Suggestions

Use a wine with noticeable acid, as this helps to melt the cheese if it still needs assistance, add ½ teaspoon lemon juice.

Try additional flavours, such as: mustard, paprika or cayenne pepper; truffles, finely chopped and sautéed in a little butter can be added to the fondue when it is ready to eat.


1. Rub all around the inside of a fondue pot with the bruised garlic clove, then discard. Add 185ml of the wine to the fondue pot and place the pot over a lit fondue base (this should be in the middle of the table you are eating at). Bring the wine to a slow simmer over the flame.

2. Toss the cheeses in a bowl with the cornflour and add a small handful of cheese to the pot. Stir in a figure eight pattern until the cheese starts to melt, then add another handful of cheese and continue with this method, always stirring in a figure eight , until all the cheese is melted and smooth. Be patient with this step, as the mixture will firm up first before it melts into a smooth sauce. Continue stirring while gradually adding the kirsch. Season with grated nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

3. The fondue should be kept just lightly bubbling at all times so that the cheese doesnt overheat and become stringy. You may need to turn the heat off for a short time to achieve this, but remember to return to a low heat once it starts to cool down. The cheese mixture will thicken as the quantity reduces you can thin it out by adding a little of the remaining wine, but warm it slightly first.

4. Using fondue forks, or other long-handled forks, spear the bread, meat or vegetables one at a time, and dip them into the cheese, swirling to coat the continuous stirring helps to keep the right consistency.

5. Nibble on the pickles between bites to help cut through the richness of the cheese. Do not be tempted to drink cold drinks, including wine, throughout or just after the meal, as it will cause the cheese to set firmly in your stomach, making it more difficult to digest. Instead, drink small glasses or kirsch or whichever spirit you are using in the fondue.

Recipe and image taken from Snowflakes and Schnapps by Jane Lawson

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