Wow! So many great ideas!
I got some really good strong swiss cheeses (Emmentaler and Gruyere) from the cheese shop yesterday. I think I will use a mixture of liquids to get the best flavor - some broth, some tart apple cider, lemon juice, and some water or milk to get the right consistency.
My final recipe (it turned out delicious - thanks to all the suggestions!)
1 cup dealcoholized wine (I found this in Meijer, next to the sparkling cider/juice)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon
Garlic cloves (to rub the pot with)
12 oz Emmentaler
6 oz Gruyere
1 Tbs corn starch
1 tsp dry mustard
We had it with day-old sourdough bread, baked chicken (cubed), and lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower.
I think I would second the dealcoholized wine suggestion (if acceptable) and be sure to get good (ie strong) gruyere and emmental to compensate for lack of kirsch and any possible sweetness from the dealc wine. Mainly though I really want to know what you decided and how it worked out!
When I was in high school I used to buy this stuff at Trader Joe's. Was recently served some, and found it incredibly sweet, and perhaps too sweet for fondue. I don't know how representative the stuff I had was, and don't remember any details on maker, type, etc.
I've never had dealcoholized beer, but that might be a better substitution for the savory tang of wine in fondue.
In So. Cal., most supermarkets carry a limited selection non-alcoholic wine and beer. If you can't find them in your supermarket, then try your favorite wine store.
Here's a link to one brand: http://www.arielvineyards.com/wines.html
Here's a link to a webpage which lists both non-alcoholic wines and beers:
If you don't want to go with non-alcoholic wine, you could always use Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider.
If de-alcoholized wine or beer is acceptable, use that. Otherwise, recognize that it'll taste "funny" to anyone expecting the standard, but I think I'd use weak broth - beef, chicken, veg, onion - something with a basically compatible flavor to the cheese you're going to use. Apple juice could work with some cheese in terms of flavor, but it'll taste like a regular fondue recipe with several tablespoons or so of sugar added. Not good IMO.
Here's one I've made before. It's not my favourite, but it works well enough and can sit in for a regular wine-based fondue if necessary:
Creamy Cheddar Fondue
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
French bread, cut into cubes
Lightly steamed vegetables, cut into chunks
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, apple juice, flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Let simmer for about a minute, then remove from heat. Add the shredded cheese by handfuls, stirring between each addition, until all the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot over a flame and serve with bread cubes and vegetables for dipping.
Makes 2 servings, but can easily be doubled.
My other suggestion would be to use a traditional fondue recipe and substitute de-alcoholized wine for regular. Or do something along the lines of a cheddar beer fondue but use non-alcoholic beer.
Yes, probably, but add a little lemon juice or other acid like a little vinegar. The point of the wine beyond taste, as far as I know, is to add a little acid that helps the cheese melt smoothly and stabilize it so it doesn't seize with minor temperature changes. If I were you, I'd find a recipe that calls for a very small amount of wine or kirsch and sub 3/4 juice with 1/4 either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (maybe use more if its apple cider vin since I think it's less acidic than lemon). I'm curious to see what other people suggest. Please tell me if my food science is wrong! Good luck.