When Making Cheese Fondue, Don't Forget The Brandy

Fondue comes in many forms like chocolate and gravy fondue but cheese is the OG. Cheese fondue originates in Switzerland and was created to put leftover cheese and old bread to good use. Today, fondue is often served as an indulgent appetizer, a cheesy pot people gather around and enjoy. A good fondue packs loads of flavor onto anything from pieces of bread to veggies but does so through more than just nutty cheeses. The unexpected ingredient that takes your fondue to new heights is brandy.

Mashed recipe developer Kristen Carli calls for brandy in their easy cheese fondue recipe. This gooey fondue packs in full-bodied flavors with brandy and other seasonings to embellish the Swiss and Gouda cheeses. All fondue calls for a good cooking alcohol, typically white wine. White wine is the foundation because it allows the fondue to stay smooth and runny by decreasing the protein size of the cheese. Carli's recipe, however, uses a melody of white wine and brandy for a more flavorful result.

Brandy imparts fruity flavor

Brandy and wine are closely related, as the accidental origin of brandy reveals that wine was a kind of "parent" to brandy. However, a few key differences make brandy a special addition to fondue. Brandy is a distilled alcoholic beverage, so it is more concentrated in flavor. Brandy can come from either wine or a mixture of fermented fruits, such as cherries and plums, meaning you can choose what flavor notes to impart on the fondue. A cherry brandy adds a playful fruitiness while a grape brandy intensifies the flavor of white wine, for example. Don't let brandy's bold, fruity, and sweet flavors scare you into thinking it will ruin your fondue. Kristen Carli's recipe only calls for two tablespoons of brandy in comparison to ½ cup of white wine. Just a small amount adds complexity and maturity to the fondue's flavor profile. In addition, fruit and cheese have always been an excellent pairing.

The brandy and white wine in Carli's fondue serve a dual purpose in bringing flavor and form to the fondue. Other seasonings play important parts, too. Garlic is a typical fondue seasoning that ups the savory factor while mustard brings a dramatic spice. Lemon juice introduces a fresh tang and brandy fills in the sweet gap. With that, you have a cheese fondue that is fully balanced in salty, spicy, sweet, savory, and sour flavor notes, composing a recipe that you'll always come back to.