Fondue is a classic cheese dish very well known across the world and also very popular. There are a variety of different cheeses that can be used and combined to make the perfect fondue. In this article, we look at the history of fondue, as well as what cheese to use for fondue.
What Cheese to Use for Fondue?
Fondue is a recipe that originates from Switzerland. Therefore, using Swiss cheese for your fondue will give you the best replica of flavours. The cheese used in fondue is ideally semi-hard, and a good melting cheese. The best Swiss cheese to use in your fondue include: Comte, Emmental, Gruyere and Appenzeller.
Remove ALL cheese rinds from all cheeses. Semi-hard cheeses have natural rinds and do not have the best flavour or texture. Also, cutting the cheese into small squares will ensure the cheese melts quickly.
Comte is a Swiss cheese made with cows milk. It is buttery, creamy, grassy and sweet in flavour. A great crowd-pleaser, this is because it is very similar flavours to cheddar and not too overpowering. Comte should form the basis of your fondue and the largest proportion of cheese used in the recipe.
Comte wheels can weigh around 40kg and use up to 450litres of milk per wheel. Due to the vast variety of milk used in the cheese, Comte wheels can have up to 80 different flavours. Everyone will taste something a little different. This makes it a very diverse cheese and popular with all.
Emmental cheese is also Swiss and made with cows milk. This is the cheese that makes the fondue stringy. This is due to the proteins within the cheese (read more on melting cheese here). It has a very mild flavour, creamy and rich. Emmental is a classic Swiss cheese known for its eyes, the holes in the main body of the cheese.
Gruyere cheese is popular and the most well-known Swiss cheese. It also has a stronger flavour to Comte and is more nutty and sweet.
Emmental and Gruyere should be used in equal quantities in the fondue to add to the flavour and texture.
Appenzeller is the last cheese to add to your fondue. It should be the smallest quantity used out of all the cheeses. This is because it is very strong and intense in flavour. Made with cows milk, it is mildly buttery. Dense and heavy in texture, this rich cheese is also spicy. The rind is also washed with brine, and this creates a mildly salty flavour to the cheese also.
Alternative Cheeses to Use:
If you wish to swap out any of these cheeses, the best alternatives to use are:
A Little History:
Fondue was first invented during the 18th century as a way of consuming and using up cheese and bread. There was usually a high production of goods during the spring and summer, and less during the winter. To use up the cheese that was starting to mould, garlic was added to improve the flavour. Dipping the stale bread into the melted cheese allowed it to soften and become palatable. It is now tradition to eat fondue with slightly harder/ more stale bread.