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Cheese Fondue in Melbourne’s Lockdown

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Comfort food is getting many Melbournians through this chilly lockdown, and what’s more comforting than a warm, gooey, cheesy fondue?

Popular in the 60s and 70s, cheese fondues have seen a resurgence in the last year. And now that people have more time on their hands at home, they’re giving the tasty, oozing dish a go. It’s definitely one of our favourite retro dishes to try at home!

What is Cheese Fondue?

Cheese fondue is a melted cheese dish that originates from Switzerland. Served in a communal pot, the cheese is traditionally heated with a candle or spirit lamp and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese on long-stemmed forks.

Cheese fondue usually consists of a blend of cheeses, along with wine, corn starch, and seasoning. However, we also love a mix of cheese, milk, butter, and egg yolks.

It’s a delicious and indulgent dish perfect for two (and when the time comes to invite friends and family around again, just use a bigger pot). And we’re seeing more and more accompaniments being dipped as fondue aficionados experiment with different flavour combos.

Is it easy to make?

Contrary to what many believe, cheese fondues are easy to do at home, and you don’t have to have a special fondue kit.

The best way to make a fondue is to prepare it over the stove and then pour into a fondue pot with heating candle if you’re using one. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into small batches for the table and keep the main mixture warm (though you do need to keep stirring, so you may want to simply re-heat for a top-up).

A good tip is to mix the cheese with the corn starch, as it will help avoid clumping and thicken the fondue mixture. Add the cheese in small amounts and let it melt before adding the next batch of cheese.

If you’re adding wine, then be sure to use a good one as it will impact the flavour. However, if you want to keep your fondue wine-free, you can use unsalted chicken or vegetable stock.

Which cheese do I use?

There are many cheeses that can be used in a fondue, but our pick is Fontina as it has a distinctive nutty flavour and a smooth melting ability.

A mix of Emmental and Gruyere is also very delicious. Or, for a decadent flavour, try equal amounts of Gruyere, Cheddar, and Emmental.

Whatever you do, use a good quality cheese. You want a buttery, creamy cheese that melts smoothly. Grating the cheese will aid quicker melting.

What do I eat with Fondue?

Traditionally eaten with bread, cheese fondues are now eaten with a plethora of sides.

If going down the traditional route, source a fresh French stick, sourdough, or ciabatta loaf. Cut the bread into cubes and use a fork or skewer to dip.

So, take your pick. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Fruit: apple, grapes, pear, dried apricots, dried figs, cherry tomatoes
  • Raw vegetables: carrot, celery
  • Lightly steamed vegetables: cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli
  • Roasted vegetables: capsicums, pumpkin
  • Baby potatoes (steamed or boiled)
  • Mushrooms: roasted or sautéed (shiitake, portobello or oyster work best)
  • Pickles: onions, gherkins
  • Cured meats: beef jerky, salami, prosciutto
  • Cooked meats (cubed): chicken, steak, ham
  • Seafood: lightly steamed prawns or lobster
  • Other: pretzels, water biscuits, tortilla chips

Low on cheese? Shop online with our Deli Traders via Food Lovers’ Direct here. And don’t forget to register for the FREE fromage events at Say Cheese 2020, 10 – 12 September, over here.

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