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National Cheese Fondue Day is a way to celebrate that delicious mixture of cheese and wine that goes oh-so-well with bread, meat, and veggies.

Fondue’s been around as a concept for hundreds of years, but cheese fondue is generally recognized to have come into existence in 1875 when the original recipe was published. Before then there was a dish called “fondue,” but it was more like a scramble, as there were eggs and sometimes truffles (no, not the chocolate kind!) mixed in. While the newer concoction had the two ingredients we see on this day, there was an issue because the sauce was continually trying to separate, requiring extra time and care to make the dish. However, right around 1905 cornstarch was introduced to Switzerland, and solved that problem quite handily.

And thus was cheese fondue created. You can dip bread into it, of course, but also popular are veggies like gherkin pickles, garlic cloves, olives, onions, and more. Some prefer fruits like grapes for a lighter repast. Generally, the fondue is cooked on a stove and then poured into the fondue pot itself when it’s served at the table, where the dipping begins.

While National Cheese Fondue Day does seem to be tied mostly to the restaurant chain The Melting Pot (based in North America, almost entirely in the United States) and a marketing promotion, you can absolutely celebrate this wonderful food all by yourself, or with friends! There are several different traditions that go with eating fondue. One is the eating of the crispy cheese left at the bottom of the pot – it’s called “la religieuse” (“the nun,” in French). The other is the custom of what happens when your cube of bread falls off your fork. Ideally, if a man’s bread falls, he buys a round of drinks for the table, but if it’s a woman’s cube, she has to kiss her table neighbors. You can customize these and create new ones to fit your table and your lifestyle, of course, but those are ones that have been around for quite some time.

There are so many options you can put together to create an amazing fondue, as the cheese is traditionally pure, but it does not have to be. You can mix together multiple types of cheese, or even put in other ingredients such as hot peppers or other seasonings to create your own special taste sensation.

We’ll give you an example of a recipe to start with, and you can build from there!

  • 7 oz of Gruyere cheese, cut into cubes
  • 7 oz of Sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • 7 oz of Emmentaler cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 T Butter
  • 1 T All-Purpose Flour (for thickening)
    1 c White Wine

You start by taking the wine in a saucepan and slowly bringing it to a boil. You then will melt the butter in a separate saucepan over low heat, mix in the flour and let them cook for 5 minutes, while stirring to avoid burning and sticking. Once the flour has been cooked, stir in the wine and whip it until it’s smooth, then add in the cubes of cheese and stir them slowly until they are completely melted. At this point, it’s time to move it over to a fondue pot! Keep it warm over low heat, and enjoy this cheesy treat!

If you’re too late to bring the joy this year, then the next time this wonderful day comes around, stock up on cheese, white wine, bread, and some grapes. Learn how to make fondue, and have a party… but most importantly? Enjoy your cheese fondue!

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