It’s little wonder that fondue is the national dish of Switzerland, a country that knows from winter: On a cold night, few things are more cozy than a pot of wine-infused melted cheese. For a recipe worthy of any fondue pot, we turned to Leah Park, the owner and cheesemonger of Milkfarm, a beloved artisan cheese shop in Los Angeles’s Eagle Rock neighborhood. Park’s fondue is a showcase of glorious Swiss cheeses that she chose for the specific flavors they impart (see her tasting notes in the sidebar below), but if you can’t find all of them, you can play around a bit with substitutions — at its most basic, Swiss fondue is a mixture of Gruyere and Emmentaler cheese. (There are also French- and Italian-style fondues, but that’s another story.)
You can make fondue in a fondue pot directly on the stove and then carry it to the fondue stand, or you can make it in a regular pot and transfer it to a fondue pot. If you’re doing the latter, make sure that the fondue pot is warm; if it isn’t, the fondue will cool quickly. And if you don’t have a fondue pot, Park recommends making fondue in a regular pot and transferring it to a warmed crockpot. Whichever pot you use, it’s hard to go wrong — just remember to pay attention to the heat, since you don’t want the cheese to burn.
Cheese Fondue Recipe
For the fondue:
4 ounces Gruyere (1655)
4 ounces Appenzeller (Black Label)
4 ounces Emmentaler (Rahmtaler)
4 ounces Aarewasser
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 smashed garlic clove
1 cup dry white wine
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tablespoon kirsch
Freshly grated nutmeg
Small boiled new potatoes
Blanched cauliflower and broccoli
Raincoast Crisps fig and olive crackers (trust us)
Step 1: Grate all of the cheese with a box grater and place it in a large bowl. Sprinkle the cornstarch on top of the grated cheese and toss to evenly coat the cheese, then set aside.
Step 2: Smash the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife and place in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add the wine and bring to a light simmer over medium heat.
Step 3: Add the cheese mixture one handful at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue to add until all the cheese is incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and stir until the cheese is smooth and starts to bubble lightly, 5-7 minutes. Add the pepper to taste. Transfer to a fondue pot, turn on the heating element, and enjoy!
Step 4: If you want to totally change the flavor and experience, you can stir ½-1 tablespoon kirsch and some grated fresh nutmeg into the pot when you’re halfway through the fondue.
Leah Park is the owner and cheesemonger at Milkfarm Artisan Cheese Shop in Los Angeles.
Haley Hunt Davis is a Los Angeles- and Atlanta-based commercial photographer and director specializing in food and product.
Ryan Norton is a Los Angeles-based food stylist and recipe developer.
Recipe tested by Ivy Manning