As the season of giving, cheer and entertaining continues, frequent parties with friends and family are always a pleasure, though often a lot of work. If there happen to be any leftovers from last week’s cheese plate (likely not) or if you’re merely looking for an easy and engaging way to entertain your guests, we have just the thing – fondue. Never meddled with melted cheese? Or perhaps you’re a fondue veteran? Amateurs and masters alike, our five tips for a Wisconsin Cheese fondue will ensure you and your guests a delightful and absolutely delectable evening.
1. Choose Your Cheese. Practically every cheese makes for great fondue flavor. For easier preparation, however, choose cheeses that melt smoothly and feature a moderately high fat content, such as Gruyère or Emmentaler (Swiss cheese). Cheeses that are semi-firm to firm and aged at least several months to a year, such as Cheddar, are also typically a great choice.
2. How Much? Typically, a pound of cheese serves four to six people as an appetizer/party snack or two to three people as a main entrée. For big parties, keep another batch warm over low heat on the stove to replenish the pot as needed.
3. Grate, shred, or crumble. Cheese requires less time to heat and melt when it is cut into smaller pieces. Add cheese little by little to the simmering fondue pot, stirring and melting each addition before adding the next. Great fondue requires some patience.
4. Prevent Curdling. When melting a large quantity of cheese for fondue, always add a starch (such as flour) and an acid (such as juice or wine) to prevent curdling. Very soft and fresh cheeses, such as Feta and Mascarpone, require less liquid than their aged counterparts that are lower in moisture.
5. Stir, stir, stir. Stirring the fondue pot is necessary to distribute the heat. It keeps the fondue smooth, guards against lumping and separation, and prevents scorching, which will ruin the flavor.