Legend has it that fondue was invented during a 16th century siege of Zurich, when inhabitants had to feed themselves on a small stock of available ingredients--which fortunately included bread, cheese, and wine. The dish later became a tradition throughout German-speaking Switzerland and in the mountainous French region of Savoie. It was popular party fare in the 1950s and 1960s, and after a period of culinary disrepute is now enjoying a revival here.
2 to 3 cups; 4 to 6 servings
Tear into bite-sized pieces:
some bread (preferably a baguette or any loaf bread that is stale and hardened)
Rub the interior of a medium stainless-steel pot with:
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Discard the garlic and add to the pot:
1 1/4 cups Dry white wine
Bring to a simmer over medium high. Add:
1 pound Gruyère cheese, chopped. (You can also mix, match or substitute with Emmental and Comté. Jesse's favorite is Comté.)
Pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg.
Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the cheese is melted (the cheese and wine will not yet be blended.)
Mix together thoroughly in a small bowl:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons kirsch (We have used vodka as substitution to kirsch, so that could be a good substitution if you are on a budget or can't find kirsch in your area.)
Stir into the cheese mixture. Continue to stir and simmer until the cheese mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Season with:
Salt and ground black pepper
If the fondue is too thick, add up to:
1/4 cup of the dry white wine
To serve, transfer to a fondue pot or chafing dish set over a flame. (We have an electric hot plate that works great.) To eat, spear bread pieces with fondue forks and dip into the cheese, continuing to stir the mixture with the forks as you dip.