Historically, I have been a disaster at doing fondue. One time the pot broke the other time I think I just blocked it out of my memory. Nevertheless, the effort and fellowship one fun. Well, not sending someone out to get a new meal. Here are some facts that may help in cheese purchase and being mindful of temperature.
Fondue (French pronunciation: [fɔ̃’dy]) is a Swiss, French, and Italian dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a portable stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s but its origins stem from an area that covers Switzerland, France (Rhone Alps) and Italy (Piedmont and Aosta valley).
Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.
Cheese fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning. To prepare the caquelon it is first rubbed with a cut garlic clove.White wine, cheese, and often kirsch are added and stirred until melted. A small amount of cornstarch or other starch is added to prevent separation. The mixture is stirred continuously as it heats in the caquelon.
When it is ready, diners dip cubes of bread speared on a fondue fork into the mixture.
Temperature and la religieuse
A cheese fondue mixture should be kept warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot that it burns. If this temperature is held until the fondue is finished there will be a thin crust of toasted (not burnt) cheese at the bottom of the caquelon. This is called la religieuse (French for the nun). It has the texture of a cracker and is almost always lifted out and eaten.
Below is a listing of Best Cheeses for fondue. Over the years people have also become very creative with what food can be dipped in the fondue.
- Neuchâteloise: Gruyère and Emmental.
- Moitié-moitié (or half ‘n half): Gruyère and Fribourg vacherin.
- Vaudoise: Gruyère.
- Fribourgeoise: Fribourg vacherin wherein potatoes are often dipped instead of bread.
- Innerschweiz: Gruyère, Emmental and sbrinz.
- Appenzeller: Appenzeller cheese with cream added.
- Tomato: Gruyère, Emmental, crushed tomatoes and wine.
- Spicy: Gruyère, red and green peppers, with chili.
- Mushroom: Gruyère, Fribourg vacherin and mushrooms.
- Fonduta: Fontina, milk, eggs and truffles, known as Fonduta valdostana in the Aosta valley and Fonduta piemontese in Piedmont, both in northern Italy.
Chocolate is also a very popular fondue choice.
Info from Wikipedia