Why do I love autumn so much? It brings colors to grey cities. It fills the air with freshness and makes it transparent. It sets fondue as an important part of a wonderful dinner. Being a hopeless lover of cheese, I wait for the cold period in order to enjoy an intimate moment of eating melted preciousness.
I discovered fondue not so long ago at Geneva’s Bon-Vin, a small old traiteur, serving cheese dishes since 1900. It was a rainy night in the city. I was on my way back from a walk in the city center, when the thunder cut the silence. Huge raindrops started falling down immediately. And I had to run.
Feeling cold, I decided to go into one of the bistros and relax, having a portion of fondue. In the end it was the best moment to finally try it. Being accompanied by a friend who had lived in Geneva for 13 years, I was immediately recommended to try one of the “classics”, and we ordered “moitié-moitié”.
“Moitié-Moitié”, or “Fifty-Fifty”, is named after the recipe that involves two types of classic Swiss cheese: Gruyere and Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO. They are mixed in a ratio of 400 grams to 400 grams, rubbing the fondue pot with a piece of garlic.
You might leave the garlic in afterwards. Mix the Gruyère PDO and a piece of starch in the pot. Pour in some white wine and a teaspoonful of lemon juice. Bring this mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat, add the Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO and stir briskly until the cheese is melted. Turn down the heat.
The fondue should not boil. Add some kirsch and a bit of Cayenne pepper. Keep the fondue pot warm on the stove over a very low heat.
I remember my silence sitting in front of the fondue-pot, catching this sight of cheese and bread and smelling the aromas in the air. When all this melted pleasure had come to an end and the bottom of the pot was covered with a crisp layer of cheese chips, my friend announced: “Happy time has arrived!”
The next moment, we started to enthusiastically scrape out the pot with our forks, enjoying those last moments.
Of course there are dozens and dozens of fondue recipes. At Bon-Vin, for example, they serve fondues with mushrooms, with herbs, with tomatoes and with varieties made from goat’s cheese. After a while I decided to look for some Swiss tips on making fondue.
How to make a Swiss fondue at home
Eric from Lausanne explained to me that a suitable moment and location are important: “From the north of the Vaud canton? From Chablais? After a client meeting? For lunch? For dinner? With my Russian friends, vodka fondue is awesome. Many, many ways! Let’s try them all”
The Swiss continue to be Swiss even after moving abroad. @bibingkalove, one of the Instagram followers of @suissepic, who moved to Hawaii, said that she still continues to cook local dishes, even while living in year-round warmth: “From my corner of the world I am trying to get a bit of Switzerland into my island life. I use 50% Gruyere or Compte (impossible to get raclette where I live). Maybe 40% Emmental, a bit of French blue cheese or Gorgonzola. Then a dash of Kirsch. A dash of nutmeg. One time we got it too hot. Our porcelain fondue pot split in half, but all of us continued scraping fondue off the table until it was gone”.
Knowing that, nowadays, supermarkets sell a mixture of cheese for fondue, doing half of the work for you, you can play with your imagination, adding in ingredients and making your fondue an extravagant one. I already know what I am going to do next time – as I got dried truffles from my trip to Italy, I decided to put them into the pot. Here we go!