Attention Swiss cheese fans, Gruyère groupies, cheddar cheerers, and cheese enthusiasts everywhere: Saturday, April 11, is National Cheese Fondue Day—a day made for those who enjoy the perfection of warm, melted cheese.
To celebrate Cheese Fondue Day in Westchester, you don’t need to go to The Melting Pot in White Plains (although don’t let that technicality stop you!). You can make fondue at home, and you don’t need a special fondue pot. Fondue can easily be made at home with a heavy-bottomed saucepan (read up on those here) or a double boiler.
Start by stopping at a specialty cheese shop, like Auray Gourmet in Larchmont. The co-owner, Ben Aiello, is fluent in everything cheese fondue, and he gave us some first-rate fondue tips.
Fondue beginners can start with the most common fondue cheeses. Aiello says that means Emmental (the original Swiss cheese), Gruyère, and Appenzeller.
But If you go to Auray Gourmet, your options will open up. Aiello likes to flavor-profile people and suggest cheeses based on that. Fondue can be made using combinations of many different cheeses, and usually has either a beer or wine base, so it all depends on what the customer is looking for. Aiello gives his customers recipes and tips for becoming cheese fondue pros, but if you want a free sample (and who ever says no to those?) without making the trip, here’s a fondue recipe from Auray Gourmet to help you celebrate Fondue Day.
Auray Gourmet’s Fondue
5 minutes to prepare; 10 minutes to cook
½ lb grated Emmental
½ grated Appenzeller or Challerhocker
½ lb grated Gruyère (you can also substitute other cheeses such as Beaufort or Vacherin Fribourgeois)
1 clove garlic
1½ cups dry white wine
1 Tbsp Kirsch
1 Tbsp corn starch or flour
pepper and nutmeg to taste
2 loaves of French bread cut into 1-inch cubes with crust on one side or 1 lb small fingerling potatoes
Combine Emmental, Appenzeller, and Gruyère,â€‹ and sprinkle with one tablespoon corn starch or flour (this can be done in a plastic bag). Rub inside of fondue pot with cut garlic clove. Pour wine into pot, and heat over medium heat until warm (not boiling). Add Kirsch. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until melted and cheese-wine mixture has the consistency of a creamy sauce. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Let boil once. Remove pot and put on lighted burner on table. Adjust flame of burner so fondue continues bubbling lightly. Serve each guest several bread cubes or potatoes. Spear fondue fork through bread cubes. Dunk and stir well to bottom of pot.