Fondue has become a guilty pleasure at our house recently. What prompted this indulgence was not only the love of cheese but it is a fun meal! This recipe for black truffle fontina fondue definitely screams romance using sultry black truffles as well as truffle oil. Wouldn’t it be perfect for Valentine’s Day?
Fondue is fairly simple to make and very straightforward. Basically it is about melting some cheese with a few extra ingredients. That being said it can be a bit fussy if you do not give it some love while cooking. As I mentioned I have been making this often, and now understand patience compared to dumping it all into a pot works best.
Cheese – you definitely want flavor as well as the ability to melt. I learned a bit from our local cheese shop when I started learning how to properly make fondue. A well-ripened cheese is the best to use as during aging the enzymes have broken down the proteins in the cheese which help it to move around in the liquid that is used in the base. Also using half and half or equal parts of cheese is key. For instance I also use gruyere along with the cheese that will be adding more flavor. In this recipe that would be the fontina. A great cheesemonger will be your best friend when making fondue choices.
Thickening – some sort of starch is helpful with the thickening process of your fondue. I use cornstarch as I find flour too clumpy. I mix it with the grated cheese to evenly disperse it while cooking.
Acid – wine is definitely the go-to choice for most fondue recipes as well as for us. The higher the acid in the wine the less likely your cheesy fondue will separate. I used an Italian Soave with this recipe and it worked perfectly. Sauvignon blancs are also a lovely choice.
Garlic – some recipes ask for minced garlic to be mixed with the cheese. I prefer to really rub the inside of my fondue pot with fresh garlic as I find the flavor is more consistent and there is nothing worse then biting into a piece of raw garlic, especially if you are trying to create a romantic meal at home.
Truffles – this recipe uses black truffles as well as a drizzle of black truffle oil. I had a frozen truffle that I saved for a rainy day which I finely minced and mixed into the melted cheese just before serving. A little drizzle of the oil over the top added a little extra WOW that we were looking for!
Fondue Pot – you can use a heavy bottomed pan instead. The only problem is that there is no heat under the pan to keep the cheese melted and the fondue warm. You may have to warm it up every so often while you are enjoying it. I have a few different pots that I use. Most of them require sterno which I could not find last year so I purchased this pot from Crate and Barrel which uses candles. I have a couple vintage ones that I found on Etsy that are fun too!
- Use a thicker grater for the cheese as the melting process is more even then finely grated cheese which tends to clump.
- Toss the cornstarch with the cheese as this evens out the thickening process.
- Anything can be dipped into melted cheese. I like to use baby potatoes that have been par-boil as well as steamed vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli as well as sautéed mushrooms. Charcuterie is also a great addition to the traditional cubes of bread.
- Fondue Pot
- Long fondue forks
- Heavy-bottomed Saucepan
- Warm Cubed Bread – we used rye
- Charcuterie – not vegetarian
- Steamed cauliflower and/or broccoli
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Roasted butternut squash
- Par-boiled or roasted small red potatoes
- Grilled chicken – not vegetarian
More Fondue Fun
- 1 large garlic clove, cut in half
- 2 cups gruyere cheese, grated
- 2 cups fontina cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup dry Italian white wine
- 1/4 of a black truffle, finely minced
- black truffle oil
Mix the cornstarch with the grated cheese in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Cut the garlic in half and really rub the inside of the fondue pot to release the flavor/oils of the garlic.
Heat the wine is a heavy based saucepan over low heat.
Add the cheese mixture, a little at a time, stirring the entire time with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheese to melt before adding more and keep stirring until all the cheese has been used and the fondue is smooth.
Transfer to the fondue pot, stir in the finely minced truffle and then drizzle a small amount of the black truffle oil over the top.