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Fondue: Substitution for kirsch?

Lat K Dec 29, 2005 10:28 AM

I'm making a fairly traditional fondue tomorrow night for a party, but I'm reluctant to buy a bottle of kirsch just for this occasion - I'd probably never use kirsch again, the stuff is expensive, and they don't sell small bottles around here.

Is there something I could use as a substitute - say, brandy? I'd like to keep the fondue old-school (white wine, gruyere and emmenthal cheeses, etc)...unless there's an absolutely awesome new-fangled version out there.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. h
    Hungry Celeste RE: Lat K Dec 29, 2005 10:32 AM

    I leave out the kirsch most of the time; no one seems to notice. Most of the time, I used gruyere as the "base" cheese and add the odds & ends of my cheese drawer...gouda, fontina, a little white cheddar...whatever's mild & pale-colored will work just fine.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste
      jackie RE: Hungry Celeste Dec 29, 2005 10:38 AM

      I do the same as Candy and leave out the kirsch, but at times use a white wine I have around. That seems to work just fine too, alto I realize it's not at all the same. I tend to keep the cheese pretty much as the recipe says. Fondue parties are such fun--have a great time!

      1. re: jackie
        Candy RE: jackie Dec 29, 2005 10:42 AM

        I did not post on this subject, but I probably would add a bit of brandy or Laird's Apple Jack that would give it a bit of the frutiness Kirsch adds.

        1. re: Candy
          jackie RE: Candy Dec 29, 2005 02:22 PM

          Sorry Celeste and Candy--somehow got who posted what mixed up!

          1. re: Candy
            MikeG RE: Candy Jun 8, 2007 02:51 PM

            I agree. Really any kind of fruit-based brandy - including of course cognac. Like the "hint" of garlic, nutmeg or other seasoning, you might not immediately identify what's missing, but something is "wrong" if you forget it IMO.

      2. a
        Anne H RE: Lat K Dec 29, 2005 03:26 PM

        My mother lived in Switzerland for five years, in an area where they were very serious about fondue. She always used Poire William. Just as expensive as kisch, or more so, I suppose, but perhaps better for drinking the left overs? My mother said the kirsch or whatever added smoothness to the finished product, which I think is true. But I have certainly made fondue without, and it came out okay.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Anne H
          equinoise RE: Anne H Jun 8, 2007 12:19 PM

          Upon the suggestion of a Whole Foods employee I tried using a cherry lambic, which is a sort of fruit-flavored belgian beer. Since the recipe only calls for a dash of kirsch, I noticed no difference.

          1. re: equinoise
            ccbweb RE: equinoise Jun 8, 2007 12:36 PM

            Since this is resurfaced....I actually used a bit of vodka which I put into the little chopper attachment that came with my immersion blender, along with some dried cherries. Whizzed them up until smooth and used that. The fondue came out wonderfully.

          2. re: Anne H
            C. Hamster RE: Anne H Jun 9, 2007 07:17 AM

            I love both Kirsch and Poire William but have made excellent cheese fondue many times without it. The small amount of KIrsch is for flavor and probably not for smoothness. The wine (or beer) that the cheese is melted in, however, is absolutely needed to keep the mixture smooth.

            IMO the quality of the cheese is much more important that whether you enhance it with Kirsch or other fruit bandy.

          3. Carrie 218 RE: Lat K Jun 8, 2007 12:39 PM

            Double check your supermarket - my Safeway sells small bottles of Kirsch (6 oz.) and it will keep or can be used in your summer Clafouti! I never leave it out of my fondue, but I'm a purist. I'm sure others will tell you there is no discernable difference and they are probably right, but just an FYI that you don't have to buy a big bottle of the ingredient.

            1. m
              mrblanche RE: Lat K Feb 8, 2014 11:00 AM

              We generally requested that restaurants omit the kirsch. We find it makes the fondue too bitter. As to the wine, we generally buy the cheapest dry white wine we can find (12.5% alcohol or more). We learned to make fondue in France/Switzerland, and the wine we bought there cost 4 francs (at that time, 80 cents). Of that, 3 francs was the deposit on the returnable (flip-top) bottle. Twenty cents for wine? Was last Thursday a good vintage?

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