Apple Cider Cheddar Fondue

Fondue is the dish of camaraderie: it has that everyone-around-the-pot way of bringing people together. What’s more, you can get it to table in less than twenty minutes. If you don’t own a fondue pot, use a heavy saucepan instead, and plan on gently reheating the cheese sauce once or twice during dinner.

This recipe, which serves 8, calls for apple cider—be sure to use real cider and not apple juice. (Hard cider, such as the one from Island Orchard Cider in Door County would be wonderful). For another, more classic fondue, substitute aged Swiss or Emmenthaler for the Cheddar and dry white wine for the cider, and rub the pot with half of a garlic clove before beginning the recipe.

1 pound medium or sharp Cheddar, finely diced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups apple cider
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¹⁄₈ teaspoon pepper
sourdough, whole-grain, or rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Mix cheese and flour in a bowl. Combine apple cider and lemon juice in fondue pot. Bring to very low simmer; do not let it boil. Add a handful of cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is fully melted. Continue to add one handful of cheese, stirring constantly and melting the cheese fully before adding the next handful. After all the cheese is fully melted, stir in pepper.

Serve fondue with a basket of cubed bread and long forks for dipping.

A former chef, Terese went from kitchen manager to cookbook author when she wrote The Ovens of Brittany Cookbook, a collection of recipes and remembrances from a groundbreaking Midwestern restaurant. Her subsequent books feature the diversity of Wisconsin food, culture, and agriculture–its farmers’ markets, food festivals, cheese factories, small-town cafes, and more.

This recipe appears in Wisconsin Local Foods Journal: Cheese Edition, which Allen co-authored with Joan Peterson.