It’s gooey, creamy and lip-smackingly moreish. Here’s how to do make it at home

Autumn’s here, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll be craving cheese – and lots of it. Meltingly soft cheese fondue has to be the ultimate way to indulge on a chilly evening, and the good news is, it's super easy to make…

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Cheese fondue pot

Via: Andrew James / amazon.co.uk

 

What do you need?

A fondue pot. Yes, we know there’s no room in your kitchen, but don’t be put off. These don’t take up that much space and you can pick one up for around £15. Fondue sets come with a stand (look for non-scratch feet) below which sits a burner that keeps your cheese warm, toasty and most importantly, melted. You can also get them with colour-coded forks so there’s no confusion between guests – forks instead of fingers is essential if you like your hands and don’t want them scorched.

 

Married in the 70s? You’ll probably already have one. Back then, they were the number-one wedding gift – a bit like posh espresso cups and personalised chopping boards today.

 

Of course you can just make it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with some water in it (a bain-marie). Start cooking when hungry friends arrive so there’ll be no need to reheat it (this can make the texture a bit rubbery), and use long skewers to dip. Job’s a good'un.

 

The cheese

Obviously the most important element. Recipes include anything from gruyère, camembert and a touch of blue and cheddar, but for the traditional Swiss stuff, you’ll need to get your hands on emmental or Jarlsberg. Treat yourself to a little tasting if you’ve never tried the cheese you’re planning on using. Camembert is our fave.

 

Tip: avoid mozzarella (best only for pizza as it goes a bit stringy in fondue) feta, goats’ cheese, halloumi and ricotta – these don’t melt well.

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Now then, which cheese to go for?

 

How to make it

We’ve hunter-gathered some great recipes from around the web (don’t worry, you can thank us later) but some general principles apply. Grate your cheese (chop it if it’s really squidgy) and put in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan with a couple of inches of water in it so you have a DIY bain-marie. 

 

In another pan, fry some finely chopped shallots with a pinch of salt and pepper until soft and thrown in some thyme leaves. Add them to the slowly melting cheese with a glug of cider or white wine and let your cheese slowly melt down. (By this point you’ll be oohing inside.)

 

Stir in a little crème fraîche and a touch of hot water to loosen it a bit and check the seasoning. Bring the bowl to the table triumphantly, sitting it on a heatproof mat, and you’ll feel like Nigella. Runny, tasty extravagance – our hearts are all a flutter (and no, that’s not because of the cholesterol).

 

Don’t forget

The dips! Warm crusty bread chopped into fat chunks is the traditional way to go, and tangy sourdough works particularly well. Serve crisp radishes, chicory, apple segments, baby new potatoes and even fennel to offset the cheesy richness too.

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Dip into your fondue with garlic buttered croissant... Blimey.

 

The recipes

Feel free to halve or double any of these recipes to suit the number of peeps you're feeding. If doubling, check your saucepan or bowl is big enough to handle the bigger quantities.

 

The classic one

Gruyère, gouda and fontina combine in this Holy Trinity of cheese fondue.

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The smoked one

Smoked Gouda is responsible for this naughty number, made to be eaten after you've seen Guy Fawkes burnt to cinders and fireworks light up the sky.

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The boozy one

Your favourite beer, onions and cheddar cheese in one bountiful bowl of joy.

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The veggie one

Where spinach and artichoke make the texture just that little bit more interesting.

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The cheese fondue for two

Because you don't need loads of friends to enjoy this. In fact, you don't really need anyone at all. Cheese is our friend. End of.

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The Swiss cheese one

Actually made in the slow cooker and served with soft and springy homemade pretzels (yep, there's a recipe for that too).

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