Fondue Two Ways: Classic Swiss and Rich Chocolate

We were babies!

Many years ago (almost fifteen if I’m being exact), I ate my most memorable fondue dinner. My husband and I were honeymooning in Europe. We had a small wedding and spent the money we would have spent on a fancy party traveling around Europe for five weeks. This was definitely one of our better decisions. One evening we found ourselves in the tiny mountain village of Gimmelwald, Switzerland surrounded by the Swiss Alps. We were traveling on a budget trying to eke out the most of our trip but when we saw fondue on the menu, we threw caution (and a whole lot of Swiss Francs) to the wind and enjoyed one of the most memorable meals we’ve eaten together. Melty cheese, gorgeous mountains and two kids in love. Definitely a moment to remember.

Jump to Fondue Two Ways Recipe

Alcohol Free Fondue

Ever since that evening, I’ve been trying to recreate our fondue experience…sans beautiful mountains and overlooking the bluegrass fields of Kentucky instead. This recipe lives up to the hype in our minds of the perfect Swiss Fondue. It uses equal parts Gruyere and Emmentaler cheese which are pricey but totally worth it. We are not the biggest fans of alcohol in fondue and find it a bit overpowering, so we like to use chicken stock in place of the traditional white wine. If you prefer the flavor of white wine, by all means, substitute that for the chicken stock. You can add a few Tablespoons of Kirschwasser for a more traditional flavor too. I think this Classic Swiss Fondue recipe is pretty perfect without the alcohol and our kids love it too.

Cheese, Cheese and More Cheese

Can you substitute other types of cheese in this recipe? You can, but it may not give you the traditional sharp Swiss flavor that we love so much. That doesn’t mean it won’t be good. If you are looking to substitute cheese, I would look for a good melting cheese. Jarlsburg, French Comte or a generic Swiss cheese can be used. A pro tip: If you are looking for one of the easiest fondue recipes ever, just pick up a block of brie cheese. Cut off the casing and melt it in a fondue pot. Not quite as flavorful as our favorite recipe but delicious just the same. We love the creaminess of the classic Swiss fondue recipe and the sharpness of the Swiss flavors with some crusty bread or apples. 

Rich Chocolate Fondue

In our family it’s not a fondue night without chocolate fondue. Our kids love dipping fresh fruit, marshmallows, muffins or angel food cake in the chocolate mixture and it makes for a very fun and memorable evening. This chocolate fondue recipe I’m sharing below does not make a whole lot of chocolate fondue. You may want to double it if you are just making it on its own. For our family, after eating the cheese fondue we don’t need a huge pot of chocolate fondue because our bellies are so full of cheese!  I love this chocolate fondue because it is downright delicious and so easy to whip up.

What to Dip

A good crusty bread cut into chunks is a must for cheese fondue. We also like cutting up apple slices to dip in the cheese. I will often set out bowls of nuts, cold cuts, boiled potatoes or other easy-to-eat foods with the cheese fondue. For the chocolate fondue I scour my fridge and pantry for fresh fruit and marshmallows. If I can’t find angel food cake or pound cake I will cut up muffins into small pieces to dip in the fondue. I love how adaptable fondue is to what I have on hand. It’s not hard for anything to taste good covered in cheese or chocolate.

Fondue Tradition

In our family, fondue has become a tradition. We like to have fondue for our New Years Eve dinner, setting goals and toasting around the table to the new year. We also eat this traditional fondue (cheese and chocolate) for Valentines Day. It’s a dinner my kids look forward to all year long. Every so often we’ll pull out the fondue set for a back-to-school dinner or some other special occasion. We love eating fondue together because it slows down the meal and lets us enjoy and create family memories together. We’ve had so many good times gathered around the fondue pot as a family; laughing and enjoying delicious cheese and chocolate fondue.

Fondue Pot

Do you need a fondue pot to make fondue? Technically, no. If you are planning to have a one-off fondue dinner, then maybe you don’t need to invest in a fondue pot. If you want to make it a yearly family tradition, I think it’s worth it! We started off with this fondue pot (affiliate link) and after using it a couple of years, upgraded to this one. We definitely prefer the Swissmar pot (affiliate link) because it heats so evenly, but the Cuisinart is a good value too. It can burn easier on the bottom, so make sure you stir your fondue every so often.

Fondue is fun and has become a wonderful tradition for our family. Our kids look forward to it every New Years and Valentines Day (and sometimes on other special occasions). We love these recipes because they are simple, special and delicious. I hope you love them too! Happy New Year!

Fondue Two Ways: Classic Swiss Fondue and Rich Chocolate Fondue

The perfect creamy and classic Swiss cheese fondue and a rich chocolate fondue for dessert. Use these two recipes for a perfect special occasion dinner!
Prep Time 20 mins
Course Dessert, Main Course
Cuisine American, Swiss
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

Classic Swiss Fondue

  • 2 cups high quality Gruyere cheese, freshly grated see recipe note
  • 2 cups high quality Emmentaler, freshly grated see recipe note
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock *substitute white wine if desired
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 1 loaf soft or crusty french bread cubed

Rich Chocolate Fondue

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips can substitute for your favorite chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • an assortment of items to dip ie: fresh fruit, marshmallows, angel food cake, etc…

Instructions
 

Classic Swiss Fondue

  • Grate the cheese. I sometimes use a food processor for the harder cheese and it makes the process very fast.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add the cheese and 4 teaspoons of cornstarch. Coat the cheese in the cornstarch and mix until completely combined. Set aside.
  • To a liquid measuring cup, add the chicken stock and milk. Whisk together.
  • Heat the fondue pot, (affiliate link) and add the chicken stock and milk to the pot. Warm to a weak simmer. Then add the lemon juice and continue to simmer (weak simmer).
  • Taking a handful at a time, add the cheese to the pot, stirring constantly. Wait for the cheese to melt before adding in another handful. Continue this process until all the cheese has been added to the fondue pot.
  • Add a pinch of nutmeg and pepper to taste.
  • Eat immediately by dipping the crusty bread into the fondue. Enjoy!

Rich Chocolate Fondue

  • To a fondue pot (affiliate link) or small saucepan, add the chocolate chips, heavy cream and a Tablespoon of milk.
  • Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add a Tablespoon of milk as needed to thin the chocolate fondue. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Keep the chocolate warm as you dip fresh fruit, marshmallows, muffins or angel food cake into the chocolate fondue. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe Notes:
Pre-Shredded Cheese: This recipe works best when you use block cheese that is freshly grated. Pre-shredded cheese often is coated with preservatives which means they don’t melt together as well during cooking. 
Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue: Traditional cheese fondue is made with alcohol. We prefer the flavor of the fondue made with chicken stock (and our kids do too). If you prefer, add 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine (or other alcohol) in place of the chicken stock for a deeper flavor.
Rich Chocolate Fondue: This recipe makes the perfect amount for dessert after eating cheese fondue. If you are making this recipe without eating a meal beforehand, you may want to double it.
Keyword fondue

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Snow Day Doughnuts

I grew up in an area of the United States where we didn’t have many (or any!) snow days. When we moved to Kentucky and my kids started school, I couldn’t believe the amount of snow days they had – for an area that typically doesn’t get much snow! If we get any little bit of snow (or sometimes even a forecast for snow), school is often cancelled. Our area of Kentucky has lots of small country roads, a small amount of equipment to deal with snow and it’s not safe for school busses to travel in those conditions. I had previously taught school in Utah where we had many feet of snow every school year and never had a snow day once. This was a big change!

The amount of snow we get on a typical snow day…

Our first year in Kentucky we implemented a family tradition to help us look forward to the beginning of “snow day” season and the fun it can bring. Enter: Snow Day Doughnuts! My kids look forward to this tradition every year now and are always begging for snow long before it’s in the forecast.

Snow Day Doughnut!

A little superstition for you: In Kentucky, the night before snow is predicted in the weather forecast, kids come home from school and do these three things:

  1. Put a spoon under your pillow
  2. Wear your pajamas inside out
  3. Flush three ice cubes down the toilet

Kids head to bed and pray that tomorrow will bring snow. 

Two boys praying for no school: inside out pajamas, spoon under pillow…and they did flush 3 ice cubes down the toilet too!

For my kids the first snow day of the year is particularly special. Not only do we have a day off school and snow to play in, but we make Snow Day Doughnuts! This is the one time a year we try our hand at making doughnuts…fun for everyone. An enriched dough (that means butter, egg, and milk or fat) that is fried and dipped in icing? Sign me up!!! 

I usually research a few recipes the week before it calls for the first snow (thank you Google) and make sure I have the ingredients on hand. We mix up the dough in the morning, play in the snow for an hour while it rises and then come inside to cut out the shapes we want to make. It’s usually a combination of regular round doughnuts, doughnut holes and filled doughnuts. 

Making lots of shapes for our doughnuts

A few words of caution:

  1. When you roll your dough out, be strategic and use up as much space as you can the first time. Doughnut dough doesn’t do very well being smooshed back together to roll out again (not like sugar cookies).
  2. You don’t need a doughnut cutter, a round glass works well. We’ve found the cap of a plastic water bottle is also great for cutting the hole out of the center of the doughnut.
  3. Make your “scraps” into doughnut holes OR roll them together to form a roll shape for a “filled” doughnut–they may look a little craggy, but they will taste good.

The kids go out to play again while the doughnuts rise a second time, and I text friends and neighbors to invite them to a doughnut and hot chocolate party at our house. I really think this is one of my kids favorite days of the year. After a few times sledding down the neighborhood hill, a couple snowball fights, snow angels, you name it, the kids start straggling in.

Gotta love that Kentucky snow 🙂

I keep a pot of hot chocolate on one burner and hot oil on the second. As the oil heats, I test a few of the doughnut holes and try to keep the temperature steady. If they burn quickly you’ll know you need to lower the temperature. If they take too long to fry (longer than 30 seconds per side) you’ll know to turn the heat up.

Cocoa and doughnuts…makes for the perfect first snow day of the year!

Once your doughnuts are fried, it’s time for the fun part. Toppings!!! We whipped up some vanilla icing and chocolate icing and put out a bunch of sprinkles for kids to go crazy with. There’s nothing better on the first snow day of the year than a fresh, home-made doughnut and a cup of hot chocolate…except for sharing it with friends that is!

Did you have snow days as a kid? What is your favorite snow day tradition?