FOOD: Swiss cheese fondue – Kiwi-style

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When I first moved to Switzerland, I was living in a small village called Montreux (famous for its jazz festival).  One of the first trips my workmates took me on was to a small village about 40 minutes away called Gruyere.  It was an incredibly picturesque walled village famous for its cheese, and it’s where I experienced my first authentic Swiss fondue. The subtle umami flavours of the gruyere melted with the nutty Emmental, washed down with the odd shot of Kirsch, made this somewhat theatrical dining experience exceptionally memorable.  Don’t be afraid when melting the cheese with the wine if it looks like a curdled mess. Persevere and it will eventually emulsify and become a smooth delicious pot of goodness. Enjoy this iconic Swiss dish!

PREP TIME:  15 MINS

COOK TIME:  40 MINS

SERVES:  8-10 PEOPLE

INGREDIENTS

FONDUE
1 clove garlic
600g gruyere
400g Emmental
380ml white wine
Juice of a small lemon
40ml Kirsch (an alcohol)
2 tablespoons cornflour
Pinch nutmeg

THE KIWI DIPPERS
2 French sticks
1 tub cherry tomatoes
2 packs breakfast sausages
4 potatoes
1 head of cauliflower
5-6 tablespoons cornichons
5-6 tablespoons small cocktail onions

EQUIPMENT
A fondue set with sticks (or use an induction single cooker with a pot)
Methylated spirits for the burner

METHOD

1. Heat the oven to 180degC.  Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and pop onto a
lined baking tray. Cook forabout 30 mins, until crispy.

2. Fry the sausages on a medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Set aside and, once cooled, chop each sausage in three.

3. Cut the florets of the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Bring a pot to the boil and cook the cauliflower for 2-3 mins, until just starting to soften. Don’t over-cook, or it will just disintegrate when you pop them on the dipping fork.

4. Chop the bread into bite-sized pieces and pop onto serving platter. Next, put the
tomatoes, cornichons and onions into little bowls.

5. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven and put onto another platter.

6. Next, grate all the cheese and put into a large pot. Pour in the wine, lemon juice and
sprinkle in the nutmeg. Combine the cornflour and Kirsch, mix until smooth and pour
into the cheese mix. If you don’t have Kirsch, use 40ml of wine.

7. Heat the fondue on the stove at a medium heat and stir constantly until it becomes
smooth. This may take some time, about 10-15 mins. If it doesn’t become smooth,
try whisking and, if that doesn’t work, add another teaspoon of cornflour combined
with a teaspoon water and mix in again.

8. Next, peel the garlic and rub it around the fondue pot with a tiny bit of olive oil. Discard
the garlic.

9. Pour the meths into the burner and light it. Pour the melted cheese mix into the fondue
pot and put it over the flame.

10. Now place your chosen ingredient onto the end of a stick, dip it into the fondue and
devour.

11. Once the cheese is finished, it’s traditional in Switzerland to let it burn a little longer
and create a crispy cheesy nun’s hat, which they then peel off the bottom and eat.
Follow it by a large shot of Kirsch or dry white wine to help dissolve the cheese in your
tummy!

NB:Please note, some of these are not traditional accompaniments to a Swiss fondue.
Charcuterie is a usual accompaniment, as opposed to the sausages, potatoes are
usually boiled, tomatoes are not seen, but cornichons and cocktail onions are always
on the menu. Enjoy!