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Cheese Fondue for Two

I don’t think that smaller gatherings and COVID restrictions are any reason to miss out on a favorite winter and holiday season food – cheese fondue. This recipe is portioned for two so that you don’t need to have a huge batch made, or do any weird math to pare down a larger recipe for a dinner at home or a small gathering.

Traditionally, the only thing dipped in fondue is day old white bread. However, I am a fan of changing things up, and dipping everything from bell peppers to pears and artichoke hearts. Basically, the way that I see it is your options are as broad as your imagination.

Some basic tips for selecting a range of dippers that complement each other are to try and have a variety of tastes and textures, think of things that pair well with cheese in other contexts, use some slightly acidic foods so that they cut through the creamy cheese, and have about 3 options plus bread for an appetizer and 5 options plus bread for a mean meal. It is great if you can have at least one option which is heavy on the protein. A general guide to quantity is that every person should have the equivalent of 4-6 dips for an appetizer and 12-16 dips for a main meal. The bread will account for about one third of the dips as it is usually everyone’s go-to choice.

Here are my favorite dippers, in no particular order:

Carrots Baguette Sliced Pears Roast Potato
Tomatoes Sourdough Apple Roast Onion
Cauliflower Pretzel Bread Dried Figs Artichoke Hearts
Broccoli Jalapeno Bread Grapes Pickled Veggies
Bell Pepper Rye Bread Cocktail Onions Cornichons

If you want to take your fondue to the next level (and well away from Swiss traditions), add dippers such as seared lamb pieces, grilled chicken with lemon and oregano, hard salami, crispy bacon, roasted sweet potato, pineapple, steamed Brussels sprouts, or sautéed shrimp.

You Will Need

1 garlic clove peeled and cut in half

1 lb grated Gruyère cheese

½ lb grated Emmentaler or other Swiss cheese

1 cup of dry white wine

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp of cornstarch

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp kirsch

Ground pepper

Food for dipping

How To Make

  1. Warm your fondue pot over a moderate heat, and rub the inside with the garlic.
  2. Add both cheeses, wine, lemon juice and cornstarch. You might want to mix the cornstarch into a slurry with a little of the wine so it doesn’t form lumps.
  3. Stir pretty constantly while the cheese melts and combines with the wine and lemon juice. The lemon juice stabilizes the fondue and stops it going stringy or clumpy, so don’t skip this ingredient even if it seems unnecessary.
  4. Once the cheese begins to melt, add the Kirsch and ground pepper.
  5. Continue stirring gently until the mixture is creamy and smooth which should be about 10 minutes. If you cook it too long, the cheese will get stringy, so try to just get to the point of creamy, and then take it off the heat.
  6. Serve immediately with your choice of dipping items. If you don't have a fondue pot that you can put a tea light under, try warming a dish, and serving it in that so it will retain heat and stay creamy.

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