The only thing better than adding cheese to any and everything, is getting to do it unlimitedly. Sure, you can always sprinkle a few shavings onto a potato, but imagine giving that same potato a cheese bath.
Legend has it fondue, from the French "fondre" meaning to "to melt", originated with Swiss peasants who wanted to make use of their leftover bread and cheese throughout the coldest months of the year. But fondue as we know it today - a combination of melted cheese and white wine over continuous heat - was first recorded in the late 1800s, and in 1930 fondue was declared Switzerland's national dish.
Part of the fun of fondue is that it's enjoyed communally; the image of a group of friends huddled around a pot of boiling cheese after a day of skiing comes to mind. Fondue can be romantic as well, as part of a cozy Valentine's Day in.
Interested in making your own fondue from scratch, but not sure where to start? You may not have a caquelon (as the Swiss would call a fondue pot), but don't worry. Fondue can be made on the stovetop, though if you happen to have an old electric fondue set lying around, now would obviously be the perfect time to dust that off.
This recipe takes around forty minutes to make, and should serve about 5 people - depending on how much warm cheese you're able to consume in one sitting! Fondue is traditionally made with Gruyère cheese, a hard, nutty cow's milk cheese originating in the town of Gruyères, but if for whatever reason Gruyère is not available to you, another Swiss cheese substitute will do.
Combine 8 ounces of grated Emmental cheese and 8 ounces of grated Gruyère cheese with 2 tablespoons of flour in a resealable plastic food-storage bag. Shake together until cheese shavings are coated with flour.
Rub the cut garlic halves on the bottom and sides of the fondue pot, saucepan, or skillet. Then discard garlic halves.
Pour in 1 cup of your preferred dry white wine. Heat on a low, simmer setting until bubbles form.
Incorporate 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir thoroughly.
Melt in 1/2 cups of flour-covered cheese at a time, waiting for melting cheese to liquify before adding more. Stir constantly on low, simmering heat with a wire whisk until cheese and wine produce a smooth, glossy melted cheese.
Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve, transferring to fondue pot if available. Lay out your dippable bread, fruits, vegetables, meats, and whatever else you've always wanted to try smothering in cheese. Feel free to get creative! Just make sure to keep your fresh fondue warm, stirring with spears or fondue forks whenever possible. If your fondue begins thickening too much, heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup more wine to loosen it.