There are many ways to make a cheese fondue. Photo courtesy iGourmet.
Last Updated February 2019
Cheese Fondue Recipes
Page 3: Recipe Variations & Fondue Dippers
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Fondue Blends ~ What To Melt
Look at any fondue recipe and you’ll see there are three elements: cheese, wine or other alcohol like beer, and a seasoning, such as garlic. Some recipes use only one cheese, others are blends. You can create your own blends with your favorite cheeses—stick to the medium and semi-hard cheeses, avoiding very soft and very hard cheeses, which are either too liquid or don’t have enough moisture to melt easily.
Here’s a fondue recipe template that uses three pounds of cheese to one pound of liquid (wine, beer). Use it with the 28 fondue recipe ideas below—one for every day of February, National Fondue Month.
- Apple Lovers Fondue
Blend 1 cup apple chutney (or to taste) to Cheddar, fondue.
- Americana Fondue
Melt Vermont Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Maytag Blue cheeses with white wine.
- Bar Boy Fondue
Melt Cheddar cheese and beer. Be sure to have pretzels and sausage to dip.
- Blue Fondue
Melt Gruyère, Emmenthaler and Gorgonzola with white wine. Use Roquefort instead of Gorgonzola for stronger blue cheese flavor. If you’re an uber-blue fan, you can use Emmenthaler, Gorgonzola and Roquefort instead of the Gruyère.
- California Fondue
Goat cheese, Gruyère or other Swiss-style cheese, sundried tomatoes, black olives and fennel pollen.
- Caraway Fondue
Melt white Cheddar and American muenster with white wine. Season with caraway seeds.
- Classic Fondue
Melt Gruyère and Emmenthaler with white wine and Kirschwasser (cherry brandy). Season with a garlic clove.
- Cheddar Fondue
Melt aged sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with beer. Season with fresh black pepper a garlic clove. Be sure to serve fruit along with other dippers.
- Croque Monsieur
Croque monsieur is a classic French sandwich of ham and Gruyère, grilled to toasty perfection. Add a small dice of ham to Gruyère fondue and toast the bread cubes.
- Dutch Fondue
While not a true Kaas Doop (there’s no milk to dilute the strength of the cheese), melt Gouda with some beer and brandy, juggling the proportions of the alcohols to your preference. Season with fresh-grated nutmeg.
- Exotic Fondue
This fondue is made from the exotic-flavored cheese of your choice. It could be Rogue Creamery’s Chocolate Stout Cheddar, the Cheddar With Thai Curry from Coombe Castle of England, or your favorite truffle cheese.
- Goat Cheese Fondue
Melt goat Cheddar and Jack cheeses with white wine. Season with chopped Portabella mushrooms. (Several companies make goat Cheddar; at least one, Meyenberg, makes several different types of goat Jack.)
- Italian Fondue
Melt Fontina and Taleggio cheeses. Mix in 1 cup of crushed tomatoes (canned or aseptic boxed tomatoes are better than fresh tomatoes for this recipe). Season with chopped fresh basil and garlic.
- Nacho Fondue
Mix a cup of salsa (or to taste) with a blend of Cheddar and Gruyère. Anything from mild to hot salsa will do; peach salsa adds sweetness. If you like the heat, add diced jalapeños; and of course, add tortilla chips to the dippers.
- Onion Lovers Fondue
Stir a cup of caramelized onions into classic Gruyère fondue. Add green onions to the mix of vegetable dippers.
- Pesto Fondue
Melt Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheeses with white wine. Season with basil pesto (or, if you’re adventurous, one of the numerous flavored pestos from our Best Pestos article).
- Philly Cheesecake Fondue
Add diced cubes of steak to a Cheddar fondue.
- Port & Stilton Fondue
These British classics combine, along with chunks of pear; white Port substitutes for conventional white wine. For a crunchy touch, use raw pear; for a softer touch, lightly poach the pear.
- Pungent Fondue
Use your favorite “stinky cheese.” You can start with a highly aromatic but mild cheese like Taleggio.
Raclette is a Swiss cheese conventionally served shaved from the wheel, on a plate with bread, cornichons and pickled onions. You can also melt it in a fondue pot and serve it with its traditional garnishes.
- Royal Fondue
Blend Gruyère, Emmenthaler, Brie and Roquefort with white wine. This “royal” blend features the “king” and “queen” of cheeses, Roquefort and Brie. Season with a garlic clove and some lemon juice.
- Shepherd’s Fondue
Melt your favorite sheep’s milk cheese (we use Roncal) with some fresh herbs.
- “South of the Border” Fondue
You have a few options here. (a) Aged Sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with salsa (a cooked, shelf stable salsa is better than a watery fresh salsa—read the difference). (b) For more chile heat, blend Aged Sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with your choice of chopped ancho, jalapeño or smoky chipotle chiles). (c) For built-in heat, melt Cabot’s Chipotle Cheddar or Habanero Cheddar cheese, or other chile-based cheese. Use beer as your cooking liquid in all recipes. See our Chile Glossary for information about the different types of chiles.
- Smoky Fondue
Melt smoked Cheddar with beer. Serve with smoked chicken, smoked sausage, steamed vegetables and pretzels.
- Spanish Fondue
Melt Manchego cheese with sherry.
- Swiss Cheese Fondue
Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheeses with a dry white wine base. Garlic, Kirschwasser and an array of other spices
- Triple Crème Fondue
Blend a triple crème Brie, St. André or Explorateur cheese and Gorgonzola Dolce, a sweeter, creamier version of mountain Gorgonzola. If you don’t like Gorgonzola, make a Brie and St. André or Explorateur blend and be prepared to go over the top. Drinking Champagne or other sparkling wine may help take the edge off. Fruit, bread and more delicate dippers pair better with this recipe than do heavier items like sausage.
- Wild Mushroom Fondue
Blend Gruyère and Emmenthaler with chopped, sautéed morels, porcinis or other wild mushrooms (see our Mushroom Glossary).
Fondue Dippers: What To Dip In Your Fondue
Day-old bread is easiest to cube for fondue. If you haven’t been able to plan ahead, you can lightly toast the bread in the oven—fresh bread will fall off the fork.
But bread is just the beginning. You can add more nutritious options, including whole wheat baguette, protein-filled meat and seafood and nutritious vegetables. In fact, once you check out the list below, it will be hard to narrow it down to just four or five choices.
Fondue with chives (photo courtesy Kraft).
||Breadsticks; cubed French, Italian and pumpernickel (or other dark) bread; Triscuits, Wheat Thins or other crackers
||Apple slices, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi, melon cubes or spears, pear slices, strawberries
||Cornichons, onions, pickled cipollini onions, olives, piquillo chiles, peppadews, pretzel sticks
||Beef tips, chicken nuggets or tenders, cubed ham or speck, grilled beef or chicken, slices of smoky sausage links or mini links, pepperoni, smoked chicken breast or turkey cubes
||Sea leg, shrimp, whatever you can afford
||Roasted shallots; your favorite steamed or blanched vegetables, cut in a way that enables them to be easily speared (e.g. asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower florets, bell peppers, carrot chunks, cooked beet and potato cubes, roasted or steamed baby potatoes, roasted mushrooms) or in natural spears (asparagus, endive leaves, snap peas, string beans)
||Asparagus, bell pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, endive leaves, fennel sticks, green beans, snap peas, zucchini
||Apples, pears, grapes
||Fried plantain strips
Want to garnish your fondue? Before bringing the pot to the table, you can top the fondue with:
- Caramelized onions
- Chopped toasted nuts
- Grated horseradish
- Fresh herbs
It creates a nice presentation, and as the guests dig in (or is that, dip in), they’ll get even more exciting flavors. You’ll need to use your judgment and match flavors to the recipes.
Use chopped herbs as a garnish on top of the fondue pot, or serve in ramekins for individual dipping (photo courtesy Away To Garden).
Alternatively, you can put these garnishes in ramekins, and let each participant select his/her own garnish. Just dip the cheese-coated dipper into the ramekin of choice.
With different recipes and dippers, you can throw a different cheese fondue party every month for two years. Party on!
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