Make Ahead

Traditional Fondue Fribourgeois - Legendary and Original

February 14, 2011
6 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

Comes from the Canton de Fribourg, in Switzerland, home of the Gruyere and Vacherin Cheeses. Most people have tried to innovate, modify, change or alter this simple and traditional fondue... They have all failed. In failing to stick to the basics... they tried to kill the legendary Swiss dish!! But this recipe will ensure it survives. Fondue means molten... they meant it to be molten cheese only. No "deal breakers" like tomato, champignons, truffles or tourist-like ingredients. - rabino —rabino

Test Kitchen Notes

Rabino's fondue adheres strictly to tradition, proving that newer doesn't always mean better. His classic Swiss recipe calls for a blend of Gruyere (fondue's dutiful workhorse) and the more pungent, creamier Vacherin Fribourgeois. (If you can't find Vacherin, you can use just use twice the amount of Gruyere, or sub in something semi-soft and a little stinky, like a good Fontina.) Rabino's fastidious technique is the soul of his recipe: he starts by having you rub the inside of the pot with a crushed garlic clove, add and warm white wine and then gradually work in the cheese so you get a smooth texture. Nutmeg, pepper, lemon juice (a first for us), and a shot of Kirsch bring the molten cheese and wine to life, and a touch of cornstarch thickens the mixture and keeps it from breaking. This is a loose fondue, clinging gently to whatever you dip in it; if you like yours more substantial, just stir in a little extra cornstarch, thinned with a few drops of water. - A&M —The Editors

  • Serves 4
  • Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 400 milliliters dry white wine (Fendant du Valais, Languedoc, Rhone,etc...)
  • 14 ounces Gruyere cheese (preferably aged), cubed or shredded
  • 14 ounces Vacherin Fribourgeois, cubed
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 shot Kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Bread for dipping
  • Procedure
In This Recipe
  1. Rub the garlic around the inside of a ceramic or heavy saucepan, then remove the pieces, just leaving the "taste" of it.
  2. Add the wine and warm it over low heat.
  3. Start by SLOWLY adding the cheese....and stir vigorously, but slowly, IN ONE DIRECTION only. The cheese will start to melt.
  4. When the molten cheese starts becomes uniform in consistency, add the nutmeg, pepper, and lemon juice.
  5. Stir together the corn starch and the Kirsch (IMPORTANT!!). Add to the fondue, to give it viscosity. This is an important step. The secret is: if the corn starch is not diluted in the Kirsch, as it hits the cheese it will coagulate and create little "balls" in the cheese. Then you might as well try to cook something else!
  6. You are done. If the fondue is too liquid, add more corn starch, mixed with a few drops of water. If too thick, add more wine.
  7. Cut the bread in pieces (french baguette or whole wheat bread, or both) and enjoy it! Remember not to drink water with the fondue. Only wine or hot tea. Fondue experts say that water will make the cheese lump up into a ball in the stomach. Recent critics have discovered that this is a myth, but I have chosen to ignore them and enjoy my wine with the fondue.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Danna Farabee
    Danna Farabee
  • Noni'sGirl
  • BavarianCook
  • Greenstuff
  • fiveandspice