Best non-Swiss cheese fondue recipe?

We’re having a New Year’s Eve get-together, and we’re thinking of trying our hands at fondue. However, we have some conditions: my husband doesn’t like Swiss cheese, and we can’t put beer in it, because we have a friend who is gluten intolerant.

Does anyone have a good recipe for a beginner fondue that doesn’t involve lots of Swiss cheese or beer?


Also, how necessary is kirsch to the overall flavor? I keep seeing it in recipes but… cherry flavor? Really? Weird. Also, I’d have to buy a bottle and I’d never use it again, but if it’s really necessary, maybe I’ll spring for it and then, I’d have to make fondue more often to justify the expense.

Try a meat fondue with a pot of oil.

This is strictly IMHO, but I don’t really think kirsch tastes like cherries at all. More like… just liquor?

Add more of a strongly-flavored cheese to cover up the Swiss? That Swiss cheese is needed because you get the longest, strongest strings with it.

(looking at a PROPER Chicago-style pizza–don’t argue with me about its definition) Mozerella is pretty stringy. And tasteless.

Hey, I’m from Minnesota and like cheese with some GUTS. I like Limburger and mourn the extinction of Liederkranz.

Change directions totally to Digbys Cheese Goo … addictive, heart attack in a fondue pot.

All the recipes in his collection can be found on the World Wide Web at ::

==> Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese

[original recipe found in] Digby p. 228/177

Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye,

Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten

melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or

other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton: and, if you

will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or

fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to

melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to

Incorporate them; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross

White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread. You may

scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

[redaction by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook]

1/2 lb butter

1/2 lb cream cheese

1/8 lb Brie or other strongly flavored cheese

1/4 t white pepper

Melt the butter. Cut up the cheese and stir it into the butter over low
heat. You will probably want to use a whisk to blend the two together and
keep the sauce from separating (which it is very much inclined to do). When
you have a uniform, creamy sauce you are done. You may serve it over asparagus
or other vegetables, or over toast; if you want to brown the top, put it under the
broiling unit in your stove for a minute or so. Experiment with some of the
variations suggested in the original.

[Clarissa’s Notes: I use brie cheese but I cut off the rind. Its easier to
do if the cheese is still cold. Medium heat or better is needed and you
must stir CONSTANTLY or it will stick and burn (and never meld too). Use a
whip to stir. A heavy pan like a cast iron dutch oven is a good idea. If
its mixed really well, it will not separate as much as if its just mixed a
little. This is a very rich sauce. I would say that this serves 8 people as
part of several removes as an appetizer or over vegetables . It serves 4 if
its the single main dish for dinner.]

Does your husband even know what Swiss cheese is, or has he only eaten stuff made in the USA? Emmentaler probably has the taste closest to what he’s thinking of, but real fondue doesn’t really taste too much like the stuff most Americans think of as the stuff with holes that goes on a sandwich. The other primary cheese is Gruyere, but you can add a strong flavored cheese and it will be nigh on impossible for him to taste the Emmentaler in there. The kirsch might add some flavor, but also serves to help get the consistency correct, and it doesn’t taste of cherries. You can substitute a sherry or something similar. Beer shouldn’t be in there, anyway, a mild white wine instead, but many mixes will contain cornstarch, which may or may not have gluten (I have no idea).

Another vote for Gruyere and substituting sherry for the kirsch. I’ve never liked kirsch in fondue.

If you want to take it in a totally different direction, my family and friends love this Pizza Fondue. I use this recipe for pizza sauce instead of canned sauce, and we dip little tiny meatballs, cubed bread, pepperoni slices, veggies - anything you can conceive of on a pizza can be the dipping material.

Should have mentioned that there are 2 vegetarians invited, so all the meat suggestions are out, except the meat on the side people can choose to dip.

I will get a chunk of Gruyere at the store today and see if he likes it. He’s pretty limited in his tastes, but we had cheddar beer fondue on our honeymoon and he loved it.

Your grocery store might (or should, IMHO!) carry pre-made packages of Swiss Fondue. These usually are Gruyère and Emmenthaler based, some with Gorgonzola, at least the ones I’ve seen. Three minutes in the microwave, and you’re ready to eat. Around here they tend to be in the 6-8$ per package range.

You might want to consider buying one of those, and seeing if you like it. They are quite good, and we use them often. Making your own cheese fondue is a pain compared to them!

BTW - most vegetarians I know wouldn’t eat out of a fondue pot into which other people have dipped meat, since it “counts” as eating meat to them. I have never had meat with a cheese fondue, but if I did, I’d probably just spoon the cheese out onto the meat on a plate rather than dip it.

Typically with a cheese fondue we serve fresh French bread, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, apple slices, etc. All veggie!

I’ll look for them, but I really wanted to make one from scratch. The recipes I’ve found online don’t look too bad. I found an Emeril one that uses Monterey Jack and Muenster… I wonder if my husband will like that. Sounds bland.

I’m a vegetarian and I would eat cheese out of a pot that had meat dipped in it. I’m not a fanatic like that, because I know meat is touching things that were cooked for me in restaurants, on the barbecue grill, etc. I don’t know how the other vegetarian feels about it, but I’m sure she’ll tell me when the time comes.

Do you blanch the veggies first or serve them raw?

I prefer a good cognac to kirsch. Kirsch to me tastes like raw alcohol and is unpleasant. I’ll parrot the comments about the swiss and gruyere mixture. He probably will be completely surprised. Grate a little nutmeg into it at the end, also.

Do American supermarket checkout lines have those racks with little bottles for impulse-buying alcoh… err, spontaneous connoisseurs of fine liquor? That’s were I buy small quantities of kirsch for fondue.

Every recipe I’ve ever seen for trad Swiss fondue uses a glass of white wine, after wiping the inside of the pot with a clove of garlic. Add your fave cheeses (wouldn’t recommend gorgonzola - that sounds weird), and if you don’t like the taste of Swiss cheese - which sounds odd, because there are many different varieties, that don’t all taste the same - perhaps adding a lot of hard Dutch cheeses like gouda over the top of the emmenthal, which could just provide texture.

? Is there gluten in beer ?

I don’t totally understand his medical issue. He calls it “gluten intolerance” but it seems to apply to all wheat or wheat-based products, even small amounts. He won’t eat foods that say “natural flavorings” for fear they might contain wheat, that’s how careful he is. There are probably beers that don’t use any wheat, but I’m not sure about it and don’t want to take any chances. I’m going to try one with white wine and one that I got from Alton Brown that uses hard cider.

Forgive my cynicism, but I’d call that “intolerance du jour”.

He had a blood test done, and he has celiac disease. It’s a real thing, and it was making him quite sick, bowel-wise.

In that case, I withdraw my comment. Celiac is really unpleasant.

Bought some gruyere and my husband says he loathed it. :frowning: If I mix it with chedddar in a fondue, will it still be all Swiss-tasting?

No idea. But try this non-Swiss one I found: Fontina cheese fondue with truffle oil.

Another classic take from Nigel Slater is to get a wooden boxed soft cheese (like a Camembert or my favourite, Pont L’Evecque), remove the liner, rub the outside with garlic and splash the top with white wine, prick, replace the lid, then bake the entire box for about 20-30 minutes, slash an X in the top, peel the rind back, and dip chunks of bread into it. It’s amazingly simple, and utterly, utterly delicious.