I’m going to come right out and say it. I love cheese. I LOVE CHEESE! I also love beer, dipping (and double-dipping) foods, and cheese that is melted. You know where I’m going with this. All of these things together equal to the magnificent creation: cheese fondue! I am definitely a cheese maniac, though I am not from Wisconsin.
The word “fondue” is the feminine past passive participle of the French verb fondre which means “to melt.” It was said to be the national dish of Switzerland in the 1930s, and became popular in the US in the 1960s. AND NOW IT’S BACK. Fondue is amazing. I mean, you get hot melted cheese (or other melted things) and you get to use skewers, long fork, sporks, tongs, knives, or whatever you want to stick random foods into it.
The very first known fondue recipe comes from a 1699 book from Zurich, conveniently titled “Käss mit Wein zu kochen.” Fondue was promoted in the US at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
These days, fondue is back in style, and you can buy whole fondue sets for $30 or less, and I want to bring fondue parties back! Of course, bread is the most common thing people think of dipping into cheese fondue, so let’s take a look at some other options, and things that go well with cheese-y fondue-y goodness!
1. Beer, of course!
Cheese fondue is usually made with beer and shredded cheese that melts and gets mixed together over continuous heat for melted drippy cheese-y fondue, so of course beer is going to pair well with it! Inside the fondue, an ale is delicious, such as Bass or Newcastle Brown Ale. You can also make cheese fondue with a mellow white wine! To drink with your fondue, light beers, white wine, and black tea are all said to go very well! Dark beers, such as Guinness, will overwhelm the flavor of the cheese.
Traditions always go well with fondue. It is said that the reason fondue was so widespread in Switzerland is because it was convenient, all in one pot, combined with being over the fire, which the family would gather around to keep warm. It is tradition that if a man drops his bread in the fondue pot, he must buy everyone a round of drinks, and if a woman does, she must kiss her neighbors. Seems like a great drinking-and-cheese game to me!
3. Appetizer course: What to dip in your cheese fondue?
Well, you have options! The most common is different breads. Personally, I could put cheese on anything, and other common fondue dippers include fruits like apples or pears, and veggies like raw broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Pretty much anything goes with cheese, so grab your favorite veggies and get to fondue-ing! These dippers, along with crusty bread, are the most common things that you’ll find served with fondue.
4. Lightly cooked or steamed vegetables
Vegetables like asparagus or squash, or roasted artichoke hearts, fennel, and mushrooms are less common to find as cheese fondue dippers, but are extremely delicious in gooey, melted cheese. You can also steam the more regularly seen veggies like carrots and broccoli for a more cooked experience.
5. Cured meats go surprisingly well with cheese fondue!
Sausage, salumi, chorizo, prosciutto and more will be really yummy in fondue, and will create more of a “meal” feeling and less of the feeling of just an appetizer. Fully cooked meats like chicken or beef would also be great dipped in cheese, but you are more likely to find those as well as meats like shrimp and more in an entree type of fondue, known as fondue chinoise.
6. A surprising option for cheese fondue dipping: pickles!
Small pickles such as cornichons are a great salty option for fondue.
7. Why don’t more people use potatoes for a fondue meal?
Everyone loves baked potatoes with cheese on them, or cheese fries, so though it is pretty uncommon to be found on the plate for fondue, cooked potatoes, or french fries, or potato skins are a great option!
8. Your friends!
What could possibly go with cheese fondue? The people you want to dip with, of course!
Did I miss anything that you love in or with your fondue? Let me know, so I can try it!
Go forth and fondue!
Featured photo credit: Alexandre Duret-Lutz via flickr.com