This recipe is courtesy of Felix Rutz, owner-chef at Bei Amici restaurant in Darling Point, Sydney. Felix is originally from Zurich in Switzerland and this recipe was handed down to him by his grosse mama (grandmother). Every year for the past six years, Felix has run a fondue night at the restaurant to celebrate Swiss National Day (which falls on August 1st) - and I was lucky enough to join the celebrations.
Cheese fondue was declared a national dish in Switzerland in 1699 when a recipe was found in a book in Zurich. Traditionally, it’s been known as a mountain dweller’s dish, but in fact it was a posh dish for town dwellers as peasants at the time could not afford the expensive Gruyere cheese.
Bring wine to the boil over high flame. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with pepper, nutmeg, salt and garlic. When it starts to boil, add lemon juice, and thicken with kirsch and cornflour mix. Turn down heat to low.
Serve immediately with cubes of bread, cooked chat potatoes and pickles.
Note: rub the fondue pot with the clove of garlic before chopping it for extra flavour. Make sure to keep stirring the fondue so that it doesn't catch - in some Swiss villages, it's traditional to do so in a figure of 8 pattern.
Each village has a different tradition e.g. some dip the cubes of bread into a shot of Kirsch before dipping in the cheese; others add an egg toward the end, stirring it around to catch all the crusty bits at the bottom.