Half and Half, But Both Halves Cheese

While spending time in the Swiss region of Gruyère, it wasn’t very difficult to know what to order at meals. As the saying goes, “when in Rome…,” right?!  So it was meringues à la crème double for dessert, and for savory, Gruyère cheese in all its glory.  Especially fondue!

It was hard to find a restaurant without fondue on the menu.  But you’re not completely off the hook on making decisions – you still have to choose which fondue! You’ll find different combinations of cheese or even some including other ingredients, like mushrooms, tomatoes or herbs.  One place we ate at actually had fondue made with Champagne.  Whatever the case, for every city or region or even country that you visit, you will find just as many answers for what is the “traditional” recipe for fondue.  Swiss versus French. Beaufort versus Appenzeller. Kirsch, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, lemon juice… what else to add?  As long as you are in Gruyères, Switzerland though, what is true and authentic is unanimous. Moitié-Moitié, the half and half fondue, reigns.

A good thing about the variety of fondue on one menu is that whether you are 2 or 10 people at the table and you all want fondue, you don’t have to agree on which one.  Just get fondue for one person!  It has become somewhat of a norm for us, but I will admit that individual fondue was a funny concept when we first arrived in Switzerland.  I had never seen it before, but it is quite common for people to order single portions.  And why not?  Everything is the same, it just comes in a small pot.  Quite logical in fact.  So one time, I had my fondue with chanterelles, and my husband had his without. Another fondue during our short stay was the obligatory classic recipe, the half and half – and this one was in a pot for two.  I am sure you all guessed one of the halves: Gruyère cheese, of course.  The other: Vacherin Fribourgeois.  Vacherin is another mild cow cheese that melts extremely well, and lends a thick, creamy texture, as well as a very pleasant taste, to the fondue.  I don’t mean to take sides, but I will be honest and say that this was my favorite fondue yet.  It was much softer in taste, with a less pronounced flavor of alcohol, and still irresistibly creamy – as most fondues tend to be.

Le Chalet, Gruyères Le Chalet, Gruyères

Below you will see the classic recipe for the Moitié-Moitié.  Feel free to try it at home and practice your fondue etiquette, which is very important!  Always keep in mind a few things, and you’ll be a pro in no time.  First, make sure your piece of bread is real secure on your fondue fork – people have all sorts of funky rules and traditions about how to handle the person whose bread falls in the pot!  Next, don’t just dip your fork in the cheese, but stir it around a few times (some people will say in a figure eight), so that the fondue keeps its creamy consistency and does not separate.  Lastly, it’s not recommended to drink cold water with your fondue, as this may cause the hot cheese in your stomach to congeal.  Wine would be a much better option.  Once you’ve mastered the traditional half and half recipe below, you may even start experimenting on your own with different cheeses.  But if you’re calling it a Moitié-Moitié, and telling anyone in the region of Gruyère about it, I’d be sure to make sure one of those halves is Gruyère!

 

Fondue Moitié-Moitié (Half and Half)

Serves 4

1 garlic clove, cut in half
3.5 cups (400 grams) Gruyère cheese, grated
4 Tblsp cornflour
1.5 cups (3.5 dl) white wine
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
3.5 cups (400 grams) Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese, grated
2-3 Tblsp (3?4 cl) Kirsch

Rub the interior of your fondue pot with the garlic clove.  Add the Gruyère and the cornflour to the pot, followed by the wine and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat, and add the Vacherin, while continuing to stir until smooth. The fondue should no longer boil.  Add the Kirsch.  Keep the fondue warm, with the pot sitting on its burner.

Serve with bite-sized pieces of bread, small boiled potatoes, gherkins (cornichons) and pickled onions.

17 Responses to “Half and Half, But Both Halves Cheese”

  1. Lani says:

    I would love to go to Gruyeres to have fondue. The choices are amazing. The only fondue that I truly love is chocolate fondue….dipping pound cake into the creamy chocolate!

  2. jen laceda says:

    I need to try this!

  3. Steve says:

    Another great adventure, and thanks for taking us along. Everything sounds great Kerrin, and I’m most definitely going to try your recipe. But I’m afraid I’ve got to go along with Lani. Chocolate fondue for me too.

  4. Sam says:

    While reading your post I was thinking about all those stinky cheeses and garlic, a little hard for my to stomach at 7:00 am. But then I read Lani’s comment, and I agree… Chocolate fonude would be great right now with my cereal!

  5. Lady Painter says:

    How funny to read this and to see your pictures from Gruyères. Can you imagine that I had, a long time ago…. a “boutique” just a little bit higher in the village than the Restaurant Le Chalet where you have eaten the fondue. And that I have known my husband at first as a client in that boutique, where he ordered the portrait of his grand-child… and, the first meal we have eaten together was a fondue, but “au vacherin”… in Gruyère, of course !
    Bisous !

  6. CrossRoads says:

    Being a crazy lover of fondue, honestly I’ve never tasted a chocolate fondue up to now. So this attracts my attention. Oh my, your journal does not help me, Kerrin;) You rock on.

  7. Gennaro says:

    That looks delectable. The atmosphere of that place in the photograph look cozy and authentic. I’ve only been able to find one really good fondue place in NYC.

  8. Kerrin says:

    Wow, looks like chocolate fondue has quite the following here! That will certainly be on the menu one day then!! 🙂

    Lady Painter, that is a wonderful story, and so glad this post brought back such lovely (and delicious!) memories for you. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Gennaro, all of the New Yorkers reading this blog are certainly curious to know your fondue address in NYC… can you reveal the restaurant to us ?

  9. marco says:

    Hello!

    Just to tell you I love your blog and I have linked it from my website. Hope you dont mind 😉

    The link is here:

    http://www.promo-turismo.com/recomendamos/

    Cheers!
    marco

  10. jk says:

    Oh yum, all of these variations sound fabulous! I’m the ‘cheese fondue’ fan more than chocolate, and now I’ve got new ideas to try (until I can get back to Switzerland)…
    Thanks!

  11. Jenn says:

    My goodness, you are becoming quite the fondue connoisseur! I just had fondue for the first time here in Paris, at a little place in Montmarte. So good — but it sounds like the fondue in Switzerland is amazing!

  12. florence says:

    Comment ça?!?! Vous avez encore mangé une fondue sans moua?

  13. Ilana says:

    Mmmmm! Mouth-watering! And great photos. Can’t wait to read about more culinary adventures.

  14. Gennaro says:

    @Kerrin

    Swizz Manhattan has the most diverse menu of fondue. It can be hit or miss, but mostly hit.

    The Bourgeois Pig, believe it or not, has a solid selection. Definately, not a traditional Swiss atmosphere, but a hip hang-out.

    Both solid, but I’d love to see an upgrade. It would do well in the city.

  15. Scribetrotter says:

    My favourite is champagne fondue – if you’re ever in Geneva try the fondue at the Bain des Paquis – you do have to reserve and it’s only open in winter (in the summer, you get salads…) Another great Geneva fondue is at the Cafe du Soleil, around the corner from the International Red Cross – so this is where all those emergency workers come to relax after their tours overseas.

    As for French vs Swiss, Switzerland for fondue, France for raclette, is what I think… 🙂

  16. Cinzia says:

    Dear Kerrin,

    we just came back from Gruyere, and visiting your website revived the atmosphere and the flavours we found there!

    Congratulations for you site: it’s special!

  17. Read Around the World: Highlights | Delightful Children's Books says:

    […] Swiss Fondue Moitie-Moitie — My Kugelhopf […]

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