Here's how much Bâtard's managing partner and cheese expert John Winterman loves fondue: He books his yearly trip to Austria so he doesn't miss fondue night at Hotel Flexen. He trawls eBay for vintage fondue sets and provided his own for this video shoot. He describes himself as "the Brad Pitt of cheese" and people kinda just nod along. When Cheese Week rolled around, it seemed only fitting to ask the James Beard Award-winning Winterman for his wise counsel on making fondue at home for breakfast. With a little help from Bâtard's chef Markus Glocker—who made some righteous quail Scotch eggs with rabbit sausage to dip into the bubbling cheese—Winterman shared a few of his best tips for fondue making.
Fondue Dos and Don'ts
Do have patience. Use low heat, and stir slowly.
Don't rush things or you will end up with a stringy, broken mess on your hands.
Do use hard, aged cheeses like Comte or Emmentaler.
Don't use soft, fresh cheeses like chevre or ricotta.
Don't be afraid of a little booze but do mix it up. Your alcohol base can be brandy, white wine, beer, or schnapps depending on the season.
Do use lots of pickles, they are your friend. Try cornichon, onion, okra, whatever is on hand to cut the richness.
Don't be one dimensional. Bacon and cream and cheese are wonderful, but you need the complement of acidity.
Do encourage your friends to join in. Fondue is a group effort.
Don't try to control everything. Have a variety of ingredients on hand and let your guests have fun.