Traditions can be what you want them to be. Some of them will have been passed down from parents and grandparents, some of them we might not like and therefore ditch, and others we might create ourselves. One of my family's traditions is a New Year’s Eve cheese fondue. A cheese fondue is a fun and social dish. It is about sharing, having some fun together and some interesting conversations. Whilst it's not suitable to a big New Year’s Eve party, it's the perfect dish for a small gathering of friends that can all fit around the table.
There are many variations of this dish and I'm certain that most Swiss people would roll their eyes in disbelief at some of them. Since visiting Geneva many moons ago and eating myself silly on this, I decided that nothing could beat the original. Nothing beats the simple taste of cheese and wine together. It might have something to do with the cold and snowy alpine winters that prompted the Swiss to invent this hot and heavy food (let's face it, a big clump of cheese in your stomach will not make you feel like a lithe little ballerina), so this is definitely a dish to be served during the cold and dark months of the year. Just a word of warning: a cheese fondue is not suitable for small children due to the amount of wine in it.
Don't worry if you don't have a fondue set. I don't. I have a small kitchen and don't really have the storage space to keep bulky items that might see the light of day (or night in this case) once a year. So, I use a balti dish and a teapot warmer with two tea lights. This keeps the fondue bubbling quite nicely when on the table.
Roughly grate all the cheese and give them a quick mix. Peel the garlic, half and rub the inside of your cooking pot with it. Then simply leave the garlic in the pot.
Pour the wine into the pot and add the cheese. Warm up over a low heat. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes for the cheese to completely melt. Stir regularly to avoid clumping.
In a small bowl, mix together the Kirsch, 1/2 lemon and cornflour until smooth.
Once all your cheese has melted, add the cornflour mix to it. Turn up the heat to medium until the fondue bubbles lightly and thickens. Turn the heat back down.
Now cut your bread into small cubes - each should have a bit of crust, otherwise it'll most probably just get lost in the fondue.
Grate some nutmeg into the fondue, stir a little more and transfer to the serving bowl. Serve with a chilled, dry white wine or some bubbly.
That's it! I hope you like it and will have fun sharing this dish with friends and family. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.