Traditionally fondue is made using Swiss cheeses such as Emmental and Gruyere but we have over 700 different British cheeses to choose from (and eat our way through) and most of them scream to be melted together with booze and slathered all over crusty bread. In fact if I listen carefully I can hear them all shouting: "Melt me! Booze me! Dunk loads of carbs in me and I will reward you with much gooey cheesy happiness". And you know, who am I to deny The Cheese?
I decided to go for a combination of 3 cheeses in the end, a creamy Cornish brie, a lovely sheep's milk Wensleydale and a medium strength cheddar. I'm always tempted to go for really strong cheddars but they tend to intensify in a fondue, go for something slightly milder than you would like on your cheeseboard. If you have gone for something that blows your head off once it's in fondue form, then you can add some double cream to mellow it out and of course make it that little bit more naughty.
In keeping with using just British cheeses I also decided to swap my usual sherry and wine combo and try something a bit different. I used a pumpkin ale and it was gorgeous (made by Wychwood and bought in Morrisons), you could also use a good cider and add a bit of cider brandy. I like to finish my fondues with a drizzle of fruit vinegar that just cuts through the richness, my favourite for this one is Womersley's Blackcurrant and Rosemary which you can buy online or a drizzle of British truffle oil will just send this into the stratosphere of awesome.
- 500g cheese - I used 100g Cornish brie, 100g Wensleydale and 300g medium cheddar
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- 250ml pumpkin ale/cider/white wine
- squeeze of lemon juice
- pinch dried thyme
- pinch dried onion granules
- pinch dried garlic granules
- freshly grated nutmeg
- ground pepper
- pinch chilli flakes (optional)
- Grate your cheese into a bowl. If using brie then cut the exterior rind off as it won't melt, just scoff it. Sprinkle your corn flour over the cheese and mix well.
- Put your booze and lemon juice into a saucepan with the thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce heat slightly and add a handful of cheese (if using brie add this first) and using a whisk mix it well until melted before adding the next handful.
- Once it's all melted and smooth, reduce the heat and add your nutmeg, chilli, pepper, onion and garlic granules and stir for a minute so that all the flavours fuse then pour into a bowl and dive in with crusty bread, crisps, boiled new potatoes, your bare hands (actually don't do that as it's really hot).