Fondues are a classic Swiss, French and Italian dish which, after a surge in popularity in the 1980s, fell out of fashion for a while in the UK. However, like so many things, fondues appear to be making a comeback – and a very welcome one! Fondue is a hugely versatile dish, with a number or different recipes based around the same basic premise. It’s suitable for sweet or savoury recipes, meat-based or vegetarian. Fondue is also a great choice for dinner parties as it’s a very sociable way to eat and involves only low-level preparation and clean-up. Simply arm yourself with a fondue set and experiment with a variety of classic recipes, plus some creations of your own.
Classic Cheese Fondues
The sauce in this recipe is based upon Swiss cheeses, but you could substitute alternatives – try a mixture of parmesan, mozzarella and dolcelatte.
To serve 4:
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 300ml white wine
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 225g grated emmenthal cheese
- 225g grated gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- Cubed bread for dipping – try a flavoured mixture such as foccacia, olive bread and breadsticks.
Rub the inside of the fondue bowl with the garlic halves. Put the pot on the heat and bring the wine and lemon juice to the boil. Lower the heat and add the cheeses to the pot. Stir occasionally until the cheeses are completely melted and the mixture combined. Mix the cornflour with a little water, stir into the cheese pot and cook gently. Don’t allow to boil or the mixture will burn. Serve using the prongs from the fondue set to dip the bread into the mixture. Cold meats, boiled new potatoes, crudites and pickles are an ideal accompaniment.
Chocolate works just as well as cheese in a fondue pot and the addition of fruit lends an air of virtue to what is in fact a gloriously indulgent dessert.
To serve 4:
- 100g sugar
- 100ml water
- 400g good quality plain chocolate, broken into cubes
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- A selection of fruit cut into bite-sized cubes, try orange, pineapple, mango, strawberry, banana and grape
Using a heavy based saucepan heat the sugar and water together until the sugar is completely dissolved. Melt the chocolate very gently in the fondue pot, then stir in the golden syrup and gradually add the sugar syrup, stirring regularly until you reach a smooth sauce consistency. Allow to cool for a good five minutes before serving with the fruit platter.