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Wine Tips: Worthwhile White

Wine Tips: Worthwhile White



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Garganega, a unique, pleasant and affordable surprise of a grape.

Of all the wines we taste, the ones we approach with equal levels of excitement and fear are those made of unfamiliar grapes. Tasting new varieties is a bit like going on a blind date: You could be nauseous inside after five minutes, or full of wine and making bad decisions after an hour or so.

A grape that recently had us feeling like we were in the latter category is Garganega, a white variety grown in northeastern Italy's Veneto region. It's best known as one of the grapes of Soave (an area within Veneto), where it can be blended with Trebbiano and Chardonnay. On its own, however, we found Garganega to be a unique, pleasant and affordable surprise.

Specifically, we tasted the Sartori di Verona "Ferdi" 2009 ($12), which had a powerful floral aroma, and started out rich and round on the palate (likely since the grapes for this wine are dried for more than a month before they're pressed, to help concentrate the flavors). The wine quickly develops a sour note, then comes back to flavors of ripe apricots. We found Ferdi to be incredibly complex and, while it may not be for everyone, it offers an introduction to a unique variety and style at a very attractive price.

In fact, if you do a search for other Garganegas on Wine Searcher, you can easily find several for under $10, as well as plenty of Soaves for under $15.

If you've had a Garganega or other obscure white wine that's taken you by surprise, tell us about it below.


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated: