Which cheese for the fondue? Tips and information on melted cheese
A simple question: A good cheese makes every dish a poem, a bad cheese ruin it. What is the ideal mixture? There is no such thing, every fondue is as unique as the cheese.
There are even people who take ready-made fondue out of the bag. You can, but fortunately you do not have to. The fondue is best if you buy the cheese in one piece and prepare it yourself. It does not take much more time, but it is guaranteed to taste better. It is best to take your favourite cheeses and process them for the fondue. However, there are some cheeses that are not suitable for fondue, either because they do not melt, or only with great difficulty, such as Parmesan, or because they have too little flavour of their own and tend to pull strings, such as mozzarella.
There are also many different ready-made fresh fondue mixes, some of which are quite good. Often the processed cheese is not of the same quality as the one at the counter. Although I have tried many of these fondues, none of them really convinced me, so I cannot make a recommendation.
The home of the fondue
There are many theories about the origin of fondue. I suspect that man has always used melted cheese to enhance dishes. For me personally, the canton of Fribourg is the root of fondue. Only in this region was a special cheese created for fondue, Vacherin Fribourgeois. The traditional Fribourg blend is moitié-moitié (50% Gruyere and 50% Vacherin Fribourgeois). The high art of Fribourg fondue is the pure Vacherin fondue, prepared with just a little water. Be careful not to let it get too hot under any circumstances.
As already mentioned, the quality of the cheese is the most important thing. For the traditional moitié-moitié, it is best to take a Gruyere Alpage matured for 8 - 12 months and a Vacherin Alpage matured for approx. 5 - 6 months. You will not find these cheeses outside the canton of Fribourg. Then take an 8 - 12 month Le Gruyere and a 4 - 5 month Vacherin Fribourgeois.
Starting from the traditional moitié-moitié, i.e. the mixture of a hard cheese with a semi-hard cheese, many variations are possible. It is important that the hard cheese is well matured and that the semi-hard cheese is sufficiently creamy. It is possible to do without both the hard cheese and the semi-hard cheese and use only one cheese.
Blends that I can recommend are:
Red Nose Gold Label / Red wine Farmer cheese
The two with red wine refined cheeses are strong, spicy and give your fondue a strong character with a hint of red wine.
Le Gruyere extra 14 months matured / creamy lion cheese from Thurgau
An interesting mixture the strong Gruyere harmonises ideally with the creamy Lion cheese. A creamy and spicy fondue that will win over almost anyone.
Le Gruyere extra 14 months matured / Jura mountain cheese
A strong mixture, two strong cheeses combined in one fondue, it will inspire you.
Le Gruyere extra 14 months matured / Emmentaler 14 months matured
Two classics come together; the Emmentaler gives the fondue its slightly nutty, sweet taste. Please do not use young Emmentaler, it will only pull strings.
Red Nose Gold Label / Appenzeller extra
The red wine and the Appenzeller herb sauce harmonise very well and give a fondue with a strong, spicy taste.
Red nos Gold Label / Red wine Raclette
The ideal blend for those who do not want such a strong blend, but do not want to give up the touch of red wine.
Le Gruyere extra 14 months matured / Tete de Moine
The ideal blend for fans of the Tête de Moîne. For red wine lovers, the Bärgler red wine variant with the Tête de Moîne is ideal.
Blends with sheep and goat cheese
Those who like sheep's and goat's cheese can also flavour their fondue with these. The heat intensifies the flavour, so be careful with the dosage.
Brie, Camembert, Munster, Epoisse, Vachrin Mo'd'or
Soft cheeses are also suitable for fondue. These contain a lot of water, so please reduce the liquid (wine, schnapps, water). A fondue made only of soft cheese is also good but needs almost no additional liquid. A little lemon juice should be enough.
Fondue with ingredients
All fondues can also be refined with ingredients. The possibilities are almost unlimited. The classic bacon fondue is a hearty mixture, porcini mushrooms aromatic and easily digestible or truffles, the luxury mixture. A special mixture from the Valais is the tomato fondue.
Many also use garlic and onions, but this is up to the individual, so if you don't like it, don't bother.
Schnapps and wine in the fondue
The schnapps is not really needed, but the acidity of the wine is, except for the Fribourg Vacherin Fondue. The wine can be replaced by apple juice, beer, etc., which of course changes the taste. However, to ensure that there is sufficient acidity, a little lemon juice should always be added.
Depending on the schnapps you use, the fondue will change; a cognac or a calvados is not a kirsch. This is individual, but please make sure to use only first-class ingredients here as well.
A few tips on how to prepare it
I reckon with 250 - 350 gr. cheese per person, the cheese can be grated but does not have to be. Especially the semi-hard cheeses can be cut into small pieces.
Preparing fondue needs patience and not heat. Keep the fire low, add little liquid (approx. 0.5 dl per 300 gr.). You can always add liquid and never boil it.
Starch is important, but should also be used moderately, giving in is always possible.
Fondue is traditionally eaten with bread or potatoes, but today carrots, cauliflower, pears, apples etc. are often served with it.
Now I wish you a good appetite.