How to Make Cheese Fondue

melted cheese fondue in a red bowl surrounded by various cut up vegetables, fruit and bread

Boozed-laced melted cheese. It's what's for dinner. 

by Erin Henderson

You have to admire a culture that will drop a flaming pot of cheese in the centre of the dining room table, give everyone a spear-like fork, and call it a dinner party. 

While fondue is now, officially, Switzerland's national dish, the gooey, melted cheese wasn't always so esteemed. 

Like the folklore that swirls around many historical dishes, fondue's past has as many holes as the cheese that makes it. There are mentinons of fondue in Homer's Iliad, and a recipe for a mixture of cheese and wine is included in the 17th century Swiss cookbook Kochbuch der Anna Margaretha Gessner. And, of course, there are tales of mountain-dwelling peasants making use of old bread and cheese during the harsh winter months. 

Regardless of how fondue came to be, I'm delighted it's here now. I serve it a few times a year, and get a particular craving when when snowstorms blow into town, as it seems most apropos to light some candles and gather 'round the fondue pot for warmth, sustenance, and a bit of joy. 

There are many interpretations on how to best make a fondue, but this is my recipe. 

Me, on CTV's Your Morning, for a segment on hosting après-ski.

Popular recipes call for cherry-flavoured Kirsch liqueur and a garlic clove rubbed on the inside of a fondue pot. That is very, very good, but I prefer the robust warmth of cognac and leaving garlic in the cheese. 

You may have to play with the heat, but don't fret abour the scorched cheese on the bottom – that's the best part. 

Serves: 4
Chef level: moderate 

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 250 g Emmental cheese, grated
  • 250 g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cognac 
  • Nutmeg, optional, to taste
  • Dippers: apple, pear, bread, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, potatoes, pretzels, etc.
How to Make It: 
  1. In a large Dutch oven over low heat warm the wine, with the garlic and the mustard.
  2. In handfuls, add the cheese, stirring in zig-zag motions to combine.
  3. (Keep your patience, it will come together, do not raise the heat to make it go faster.)
  4. Season lightly with S+P.
  5. Once it has started to loosely form and most of the wine has been absorbed, mix the cognac into the cornstarch to form a slurry and pour into the cheese.
  6. Stir in zig zag motions to incorporate and thicken, about 5 minutes or so.
  7. Add in the nutmeg, if using, stir quickly to combine, and pour into a warmed fondue pot set over a low flame.
  8. Serve with dippers of choice.
Wine Pairing:

Classic pairings for fondue are white wines located from the Alps, such as crisp Chasselas, Auxerrois, or Pinot Blanc. However, these grapes are a bit unconventional, and finding good quality bottles outside of certain regions within Switzerland, France, or Germany may prove challenging. 

I appeared on CTV's Your Morning to talk about great wine pairings for fondue and showed how a Petite Chablis, with its mouth-watering acid and green apple flavours, worked beautifully to cut through the rich cheese. Similarly, Lambrusco, the deeply hued, sparkling red wine out of Emilia-Romagna in Italy, was also a delicious pairing. The ripe berry notes contrasted the salty bite of the cheese, while the bubbly effervescense of the wine kept the palate fresh. 



Hear From Real People!

The unique programs and the tour we did with you was a huge success. Guests really enjoyed the afternoon!
The Wine Sisters put on magnificent event in Unionville..... They did a superb job, both as Sommeliers and on the PR and overall event co-ordination ... Great job and we look forward to working with you on our event!
You were such an awesome host and I appreciate all of the work you put into it. Thank you so much again!
You and your team were an absolute pleasure to work with! From the get go, you were very flexible with our needs, communicated in a timely manner, and tailored your services to be exactly what we asked for.
[They] quickly engaged our group with our wine themed engagement party. Guests were lined up all evening for the experience. [They] very willing to involve guests in tasting discussion. We are all a little more wine savvy - thank you The Wine Sisters
The event was a huge success! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the group was quite engaged. The wine was also delicious! Thank you so much! I hope we can work together on another event in the future!
I wanted to thank you SO much for your tutored wine tasting! It was so much fun. You were both informative and hilarious! Each person said they would definitely recommend you to anyone looking to do a wine tasting!
Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
Great energy, sense of humour and very knowledgeable! Thank you for making it an afternoon to remember!
The Wine Sisters are professional and flexible to attend to client needs. They’re able to provide 'one stop shop for events.

Instagram Feed

Follow on Instagram

For support issues or any questions, please email us at drinkwithus@thewinesisters.com

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to be the first to know about our wine recommendations, cocktail recipes, and great tips for throwing fabulous parties.