The first time we went back to France as a couple the family whisked us away to a little mountain town where I had my first fondue. Ever since then we make a French fondue in the wintertime. It’s one of our favorite traditions in Maison Pacaut and I hope it will become one of yours too!
Buy Your Fondue Pot
While I love the look of traditional fondue pots with all that colored enamel glory, this trusty Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker is affordable and it’s easy to adjust the temperature so your cheese stays nice and melty. It also comes with 8 fondue forks so you can get your cheese on with a lot of friends!
Get a Ton of Cheese
By French tradition, you should estimate about 200 grams of cheese per person. This translates to about .44 pounds of cheese per person. So, if you are making fondue for four people, you’ll need just under 2 pounds of cheese (1.77 lbs to be exact).
We make a French Fondue with half Comté and half Gruyère (both of which are available at Trader Joe’s). If you are having trouble finding either of these cheeses, you can sub it for Emmental cheese (more commonly known as Swiss cheese).
Pick up the Extras
The traditional way to eat fondue is to pair it simply with bread. However, we are a house of gourmandes so we like to serve it with additional accoutrement. Be sure to get some charcuterie, cornichon pickles, baby potatoes (peel and steam until tender), and baguettes (cut into small inch wide cubes).
Don’t Forget the Drinks
A party ain’t a party without a drink or two. For those going the wine route, I’d suggest a dry white wine. We picked up a couple bottles of Blason de Bourgogne Macon-Villages Chardonnay for $9.99 at Trader Joe’s (aka the same wine we used to make the fondue). If white wine isn’t your thing, you could go for the Familia Nueva Vineyards Liberté Pinot Noir (also $9.99 at Trader Joe’s).
Something bubbly goes great with fondue. It also quells the French fear that the cheese will settle in your stomach and remain there for-ev-er. Beer is a great pairing, but you could also provide sparkling water or Coca Cola.
Trader Joe’s Shopping List
Here’s a shopping list to make the trip to Trader Joe’s quick and easy. These quantities will make a fondue for four.
• 2 wedges of Trader Joe’s Comté
• 2 wedges of Trader Joe’s Swiss Gruyère
• 2 sour dough baguettes
• 1 package of Daniele Inc. Gourmet Deli Selection charcuterie
• 1 Columbus salami secche
• 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Cornichons
• 1 bag of Dutch Yellow Baby Potatoes
• 2 bottles of Blason de Bourgogne Macon-Villages Chardonnay (some to drink and some for cooking the fondue)
• 1 bottle of Chimay or a six-pack of Hoegarden
• 1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Water or a bottle of Coke (purchase from another store since Coca Cola is not available at Trader Joe’s)
Make the French Fondue
Making a French fondue is easy!
First, trim the rind of each wedge of cheese and then cube it into small pieces about a half inch wide. Pour a small amount of flour into a large bowl. Dust the cheese cubes with flour and set aside.
Meanwhile, slice a clove of garlic in half and rub it along the inside of your pot. Pour in a dry white wine into the pot and slowly bring it to a simmer. If you are making a fondue for four with 800 grams of cheese, you will need about 1.5 cups of wine.
While keeping the heat at a low medium flame, add a handful or two of cheese. Stir continuously until it melts. Add cheese in small handfuls until everything is melted. If the mixture looks too thick, add up some more of the dry white wine.
Transfer cheese to fondue pot and set it up on the table along with platters of cubed bread, charcuterie, sliced salami, cornichons, and steamed potatoes. Pour everyone a glass of something nice and now it’s time to fondue!