This has been an all time favourite in our house for many years! The birthday meal for my daughter, along with Chocolate Fondue was always Cheese Fondue.
Thus was also a staple dish during the winter and lent. The cheese I used was very much
what I had on hand. For special occasions, I like to use Gruyere cheese as it has a creamy nutty taste but any hard or semi hard cheese will do. In my early cook books on Fondue, Swiss cheese was suggested, as were many other cheeses. Since my kids like Cheese Fondue, I always and still use milk in place of wine. I prefer the taste as did our Swiss friend's Mom, much to her surprise.
The first time, I was invite to a Cheese Fondue, I was in awe of the beautiful table setting along with the creamy cheese sauce in a ceramic pot my coworker's Austrian husband had prepared. What a lovely and intimate setting for four people. At the end, Ernie had dropped a raw egg to clean the pot of all the burned cheese at the bottom. He used a piece of bread on a fondue fork and by whisking the egg around the pot picked up bits of cheese stuck to pot. This was equally shared with all of us. Delicious!
For Christmas, my now husband bought me a stainless steel Fondue pot which we use for Meat Fondue or Fondue Bourguignonne. I had used this pot with a boiler section, but I do prefer the earthenware pots for Cheese Fondue.
I like to toast cubes of bread on a cookie sheet for the Cheese Fondue. A platter of vegetables and fruit like apples can also be added, but the traditional way is to use only bread cubes.
The bases of my Cheese Fondue is a White Sauce that is easily made in the Microwave or on the stovetop. For this Christmas party, I used the two smaller pots so that it was easy reach for dipping into the pot. I placed a fondue pot between four people. I made three cups of white sauce to which grated gruyere and old white cheddar was added. A clove of garlic had been added to the white sauce as it was cooking, fresh grated nutmeg was also added to the sauce at the end.
The sauce did take a while to come together, but just be patience and slowly heat the sauce minute by minute in the microwave or on the stove top until the sauce comes together. Do not over heat! Adding heated milk to the sauce, also speeds the process. The cheese was slowly added to the sauce while mixing the cheese in until melted.
Because of the richness of this meal, a Caesar salad was also made. Loaded Caesars started the meal as the Cheese fondue was prepared.