Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Types Of Cheese For Making Fondue

Depending on your age, your familiarity with fondue might only go so far as making fondue puns, like "people fonDON'T like fondue anymore." But that sort of thinking just doesn't fly with Andrew Zimmern of "Bizarre Foods." "The fact that fondue has been poo-pooed for so long actually kind of ticks me off," Zimmern shared in a YouTube video. And he has a point. Place a pot of the melted, ooey-gooey cheese in front of them, and chances are even cynics will love it.

There are different types of fondue, from savory hot oil fondue to classic chocolate fondue, but for Zimmern, it's all about the cheese. Rather than using some generic "Swiss cheese" from the grocery store, he selects cheeses that have more character: cave-aged Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Appenzeller cheese. Zimmern says he looks for cheeses that are "nutty, funky, and umami" but that are still great melters (for example, fontina; raclette and vacherin are also regionally used). 

While Gruyère cheese and Emmentaler can be found at many grocery stores these days, Appenzeller might be harder to find. It's a Swiss alpine cheese that's been made for more than 700 years. If you can't find it, some cooks recommend simply adding the same amount of additional Gruyère or Emmentaler. Once you have your cheeses sorted, it's fondue time, but don't be nervous. Zimmern shared his tips for making sure the end product comes out cheesy and smooth.

How to make smooth fondue

Once you've sourced the cheeses for Zimmern's easy cheese fondue recipe, it's important to treat them with care. The shredded cheeses are mixed with cornstarch, then added to a simmering saucepan of white wine and lemon juice. "Every time you add a cheese, you add a third of the cornstarch and whisk. And you don't add another cheese until the first, or the cheese that went before it, is melted." This will ensure your fondue stays smooth and doesn't break. You can see Zimmern's technique in his video.

Zimmern favors classic fondue accompaniments like slightly stale bread cubes (If the bread is too soft, it can fall into the fondue pot, which traditionally means you owe someone a kiss or a bottle of wine), sliced sausages, and boiled new potatoes. He also says the fondue should be "cut with something bright and vibrant," like peppadew peppers (cornichons are also traditional).

The next time you throw a party, why not skip the taco bar for a pot of fondue and a tasty platter of dippers instead? After all, as Zimmern says, "Like wide lapels and double-breasted suits and the color avocado green," it may have fallen out of favor, but at the end of the day, "fondue is fantastic." And don't forget to eat "the nun" — the crispy cheese at the bottom of the pot, which is the real chef's prize.