Fondue! Is there any more perfect food in the world? Melted cheese is probably the best thing to eat next to dark chocolate and red wine. I have been eating Fondue for as long as I can remember. I probably first had Fondue back when we visited Switzerland when I was about 8 years old. I fondly remember burning the roof of my mouth on the molten cheese, but I think we all need to learn that lesson once! Fondue was popular in the USA in the ’60s and ’70s and we ate a fair amount of it as a family when I was growing up. Pretty much every grocery store had a few boxes of Fondue from Switzerland. Back in those days, it was hard to get a good loaf of bread and we had been spoiled by our trip to Europe. My father became very good at making Julia Child’s baguettes from her cookbooks so we could have proper fondue. In my opinion, there is only one type of Fondue and that is from Switzerland and it’s melted Gruyere cheese and wine. I’m not saying that there aren’t some other excellent melted cheese Fondue-like creations.
What is Fondue?
Fondue, a delightful and communal dining experience, traces its roots back to the Alpine regions of Switzerland, specifically in the canton of Valais. The word “fondue” is derived from the French word “fondre,” which means “to melt.” Historically, fondue served as a practical way for Swiss farmers and herders to make use of their aging cheese and stale bread during the winter months. They would melt the cheese with wine or other liquids over an open flame and dip pieces of bread into the molten mixture. Over time, fondue evolved into a popular dish, spreading beyond Switzerland to become an international favorite. I really like the Swissmar Lugano 2-Quart Cast Iron Cheese Fondue Set, 9-Piece set. The traditional fondue approach. No electric kettle for me! To serve a classic cheese fondue, you’ll need a few essential items: a fondue pot, a heat source (such as a burner or Sterno), long forks, and, of course, the ingredients for your cheese mixture. Traditional Swiss cheese fondue is made with a combination of Gruyère and Emmental cheeses, white wine, garlic, and a touch of kirsch (cherry brandy). To prepare, grate the cheeses and simmer them with wine and garlic until smooth. Once the mixture is ready, place it in the fondue pot over the flame to keep it warm and gooey. Guests use long forks to spear pieces of bread, which they then dip into the cheese, ensuring a satisfyingly creamy and flavorful bite. Fondue is a social experience, fostering conviviality and conversation as diners gather around the pot to enjoy this time-honored Swiss tradition. Besides cheese, there are also chocolate and meat fondue variations, each with its own unique history and serving style, making fondue a versatile and enduring culinary tradition.
Trader Joe’s Fondue
Trader Joe’s just had a melted Brie thing that was excellent! I’ve visited Switzerland on many occasions over the years and there is nothing like eating Fondue in the Alps! I’ve tried, on a couple of occasions, to make it from scratch. It really never turns out as good as the Fondue you can buy in the box. It never melts right and is lumpy. The Swiss have perfected the pre-made Fondue over the years and why mess with a good thing? As long as I’ve gone to Trader Joe’s there has always been Fondue. Unfortunately, it’s a seasonal thing so don’t go looking for it in August, you won’t find it at Trader Joe’s. Plus, who wants Fondue in the middle of the summer?
The Fondue pot you see in the picture is one of my wife’s prized possessions. She went on a trip with a couple of friends, before I met her, to Germany and when she was there she found this perfect Fondue pot and we’ve had it for many years. She hand-carried it on the plane and brought it through customs. It’s pretty darn heavy. It’s perfect for Fondue because it’s heavy cast iron and distributes the heat evenly and you always get that really nice crust on the bottom which is called la religieuse (French for the nun). If you can get a nice Fondue pot, I suggest spending some money on it. You’ll thank me later. We eat it the traditional way with bread, cornichons, and olives and sometimes we get bratwurst or steamed vegetables. Thank god Trader Joe’s had good bread in our region and the sourdough baguettes are always good (not the case at every Trader Joe’s! Which is why I probably will never review fresh bread). But a good baguette is essential to enjoying this. Seek one out, it makes all the difference.
Final Tasting Notes
As Fondues go, this one is excellent with good Gruyere flavor, with a hint of wine. We rub raw garlic all over the inside of the pot and then throw the garlic clove in the bottom and let it cook in the cheese. I always stuff myself on this and I finally got my older son to try it and he loved it! By the way, this is a Product of Switzerland so you know it’s authentic! This is an amazing product and I’m going to give it 9 bells! INGREDIENTS: SWISS EMMENTAL & GRUYERE CHEESE (MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, RENNET [ANIMAL]), WINE, WATER, POTATO STARCH, KIRSCH, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SALT, SPICES. NUTRITION FACTS: Serving Size 1/4 Cup (57g) Servings Per Container about 7 | Amount per serving: Calories 130, Total Fat 10g (16% DV), Saturated Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 25mg (8% DV), Sodium 200mg (8% DV), Total Carbohydrate 2g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 0g, Protein 9g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 20%, Iron 0%. The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.