Cheese fondue is a smooth amalgamation of melted Gruyère and white wine. Fondue parties were all the rage in the ‘seventies, with special fondue sets to serve it in. It is best made on the hob in the kitchen, then served in heated individual dishes or in a bagna cauda, the Italian terracotta tower – with its glazed bowl kept hot by a night-light – which is traditionally used to present a hot anchovy-and-garlic dip to have with crudités. Raw vegetables also go well with the fondue, along with bite-sized pieces of baguette, the usual accompaniment. Your fondue set would have come with a set of long-handled, two-pronged forks. Ordinary forks work equally well.
Put the wine in a saucepan with the bay leaf, garlic and juniper berries. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes then pass through a sieve into another pan.
Add the grated Gruyère and melt slowly over the lowest heat. If you like, whisk in the crème fraîche and liquor before serving.
Serve with bread and long forks to dip it in the fondue.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.