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!
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.
re: Anne H
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.
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.
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?
Kirsch isn't always easy to find at a liquor store, so you could substitute any sweet German Riesling wine, if you cannot find it.