We took a classic Swiss fondue recipe as the model for our version of this dish, which is made with American cheeses, American wine, and artisanal American cherry brandy.
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1 1⁄2 cups light, dry white wine, such as a Californian unoaked sauvignon blanc
- 2 tbsp. Westford Hill Distillers kirsch or other cherry eau-de-vie
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1⁄2 lb. Joe Matos Cheese Factory St. Jorge or other semihard cows' milk cheese, cut into ½" cubes
- 1⁄2 lb. Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise or other semihard cows' milk cheese, cut into ½" cubes
- pinches freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 loaf crusty bread, torn into cubes
Rub the inside of a fondue pot or a heavy-bottomed medium enameled cast-iron pot with garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine and kirsch to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove.
Put cornstarch into a large bowl, add cheeses, and toss until cubes are lightly coated. Gradually add cheese, 1-2 handfuls at a time, and any cornstarch left in bowl to fondue pot and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until cheese melts; then add more. When cheeses are completely melted and mixture is smooth, stir in nutmeg.
To serve the fondue, set the fondue pot over a flame at the table. Keep fondue just bubbling, regulating flame under pot as necessary. To eat, spear bread cubes with fondue forks and dip into cheese. (You may also dip slices of apple or ripe pear or cubes of ham into the fondue.) Stir pot often to keep fondue smooth.
When a thin layer of cheese is left in bottom of fondue pot, turn flame down and let cheese cook so that it develops a lightly golden crust on bottom. Turn off flame and let crust cool briefly, then lift edge and pry off bottom of pot. Tear crust into pieces to eat.