I was craving fondue so I went out today and bought a fondue pot and the ingredients to make cheese fondue. It came out bloody awful - I had to throw it away. It was very loose and so bitter, and it tasted mainly of wine. What did I do wrong? I used emmanthaler and gruyere with flour sprinkled on, white wine, lemon juice, kirsch. The ratio of wine to cheese was 2 cups wine to 1 pound cheese. Is that too much wine? The recipe said not to let the wine come to a boil, I'm thinking maybe I should have let it boil to get rid of the alcohol. Any tips?
I've never boiled the wine, but it should have little bubbles on the edge--does that make sense?--between simmering and boiling. And I'm always surprised at how long it takes for fondue to come together. It's, like, almost longer than I have patience. Lots of stirring. Lots and lots. I've also never used lemon juice (maybe the source of your bitterness?)--and often mix some cornstarch in with the kirsch as thickener, added at the end.
Don't give up on fondue! Keep messing with it until you get it the way you like it!
yes, i think it might have been a bit too much wine. i wouldn't boil it, as that may cause the fondue to separate. what kind of wine did you use? if it was too sweet, that may also be part of the problem.
i've had great luck with the recipe from epicurious:
i hope it goes better next time!
A trick I learned from a swiss friend is to leave the cheese on sheets to dry out a bit after you've grated it-- this reduces the water content and helps make it thicker, I guess. That sounds like rather a lot of wine, too--I'd say more like half that (but it takes some adjustment, depending on the cheese). Some cheeses also have a little bitterness to them--did you like the taste of the cheeses before they went into the fondue?
No clue on the bitter -- did you taste the wine and cheeses before they went into the fondue to see if one of them was the culprit?
I agree with other folks on the too much wine -- I think I use about 1 1/2 cups of wine per pound of cheese. I think adding the flour (or cornstarch) to the cheese is the way to go. It's important to stir the cheese in slowly -- one big handful at a time until each is melted in. I add the kirsch (no lemon juice) at the end, which seems to help with separation issues.
That's the technique I was told by folks I lived with in southern Germany (fondue territory). Oh, their other important piece of advice was to drink red wine with fondue instead of just the leftover white (which is what I'd always done up to that point). Not only does red wine go great with all the cheese (duh), having that extra bottle of wine open does make the evening more convivial :)
Good luck with your next round!