Fondue 101

It's easy to make your own fondue with almost any cheeses or flavorings you like. Try experimenting, using our recipes and the keys below as a guide.

CHEESE: As long as it melts well, almost any cheese should work. (Non-melting cheeses include ricotta, halloumi, and most fresh goats' milk cheeses.)

LIQUID: If you don't add liquid, the cheese may curdle or scorch. Wine is traditional, but you may also use beer, stock, or even water.

ACID: An acid component is necessary for keeping the fondue from becoming stringy or seizing up. Dry wines tend to have enough acid, but if you aren't using wine—or are using one that is sweet—add about one tablespoon of lemon juice per pound of cheese to the hot liquid before melting the cheese.

STARCH: To help emulsify the melted cheese and liquid, use a starch—ideally cornstarch, which gives the smoothest texture as it thickens the fondue. (If your fondue gets too thick, thin it out by gradually stirring in a little more warmed liquid.)

HEAT: Fondue must stay hot, or it will harden. Special fondue burners are useful but not necessary; a warming plate, candle, or other sufficient heat source that can be put under your melting pot will do as well.

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