cheese fondue with a difference

So late to come this year, but winter's grip is still strong and I can't wait to get back out to Switzerland in March, to the wonderful village where i shot my latest book Winter Cabin Cooking, full of all the glorious traditional (and not so traditional) dishes of the mountains.

Made with a mélange of cheeses. A true Swiss fondue is a mixture of gruyere and Vacherin Fribourgeois which is a semi hard cheese with a lovely nutty flavour.  Traditionally melted with white wine and grappa or kirsch and served with chunks of bread to dip into it alongside charcuterie and pickles.  I like to make a more subtle version with beer and whiskey instead making it even more delicious, if that is possible. You really do need a fondue pot for the best results as it sits above a flame that keeps the cheese melted and gently bubbling. They are really easy to pick up second hand and don’t cost that much.

Traditional (ish) cheese fondue

serves 4-6

1 fat garlic clove, halved

2 tsp cornflour

400ml hoppy lager beer

800g mixture grated Swiss or French alpine cheeses such as Gruyere or Comte, Vacherin Fribourgeois, good quality Emmenthal and Beaufort. Choose two or three cheese

1-2 tsp whisky

1 large loaf of slightly stale country white bread, cut into cubes

cornichon, pickled silver skin onions and charcuterie to serve

Rub the garlic all over the inside of the fondue pot. Mix the cornflours with a little of the beer make a smooth paste then add this and the rest of the beer to the pot. Place over a low heat and add the cheese and stir until it is melted and steaming but not boiling. If it is too thick you can add a little splash more beer. Add the whisky and then transfer to the fondue stand and light the burner

Dip the bread into the melting cheese and eat with lots of pickles and charcuterie