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A FRESH Point of View: Modern Fondue

Fondue is one of those things that seems to go in and out of fashion every few years. Me, I think it should always be popular, especially this time of year. Warm gooey melted cheese, served with crusty bread and best enjoyed with friends – what’s not to like?

Nothing, I say, especially when you consider fondue is a super-easy way to entertain. You don’t need a fancy fondue set – a slow-cooker or any container that holds heat well will work for serving, along with simple wooden or metal skewers. (Give each guest one skewer for dipping, plus utensils for eating their fondue-d food, so they don’t double-dip.)

And you don’t have to rely just on the old bread-and-cheese combo. In addition to the traditional crusty baguette, experiment with vegetables or even fruit as dippers – mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, and even apple and pear slices make a pretty platter. Or add something flavorful to your fondue as it’s melting. A bit of oven-roasted tomato, dried fruit, or roasted shallots will give the fondue a modern edge.

Our cheese department carries what you need to make a great fondue, including some “kits” that are as simple as just melting cheese!

Emmi fondue blend: This mixture combines the traditional cheeses – Emmental  and Gruyere – with some natural flavors and ingredients that help create a smooth, consistent fondue. You can add a bit of white wine and melt over low heat, or in a fondue pot, for a classic fondue flavor.

Ermitage French Brie Fondue: This comes in a lightweight wooden bowl; you simply pull back the paper wrapping, cut a slight X in the cheese, and heat. (Two minutes in the microwave, or 15 minutes in the oven.) You can serve it right in the bowl, which we found enough for an appetizer portion for four to six people. This tastes more like a liquid melted Brie than true fondue, but it’s delicious, and could not be any easier.

Premium cheese fondue kit: From Swizerland, this ready-to-melt mixture already has white wine and Kirsch flavors, along with the classic Swiss cheese. Again, heat and serve.

Classic fondue cheeses: If  you’re a do-it-yourself kind of cook, or you have a favorite recipe, our cheese department has the classic cheeses. In my opinion, the best cheese fondue comes from a mix of velvety Gruyere and mild Emmental (sometimes called Emmenthaler) cheese.