Italian cheese fondue is a delicious dish made with cheese, milk, butter and eggs. Only 4 ingredients for a traditional dish of northern Italy.
What we want to show you today is the authentic and traditional recipe of Aosta Valley: the recipe offonduta alla Valdostana better known as Fontina Fonduta Recipe. Yes, because the main ingredient of this recipe is a famous Italian cheese, born in Aosta Valley: Fontina cheese.
Cheese Fondue is a great classic of Italian cuisine, a typically winter dish that you can enjoy in front of a fireplace and in good company. It’s pretty easy making it if you use the right ingredients and follow the steps below.
Now let’s see how to make the authentic Italian Cheese fondue recipe.
Italian Cheese Fondue Recipe
- 400 g (14 0z) of Fontina Cheese
- 50 g (1,8 oz) of unsalted butter
- 250 ml of whole milk
- 4 medium egg yolks
- ground black pepper (optional)
- bread cut into pieces and toasted. You can use homemade bread loaf made with our recipe or even sandwich bread.
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
During the preparation of fontina fonduta recipe, you need to stir non-stop the ingredients with a whisk (just the first 5 minutes and when you add the egg yolks). We opted for a stainless steel balloon whisk . Then you have to keep stirring often but with a wooden spoon .
Another tool that is useful for the preparation of the Italian cheese fondue is the double boiler pot. We suggest this stainless steel double boiler pot with heat resistant handle .
To enjoy your exquisite cheese fondue, you need a special electric fondue set or one with an alcohol stove because it’s essential that the fondue does not cool down and keeps costant its temperature and its consistency.
How to Make Italian Cheese Fondue with Fontina
Now we are going to show you how to make Italian cheese fondue recipe with Fontina cheese step by step.
Step 1) – First remove the rind of the fontina cheese, then slice it thinly.
Step 2) – Place the cheese in a bowl and pour the milk over it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (if you don’t have to cook the fondue right away the same day, you can keep the fontina cheese in the milk overnight). In this way the milk absorb the flavor of the cheese and the cheese will be creamier when cooked.
Step 3) – After the soaking time, place the milk and cheese in a double boiler pot and cook over medium heat STIRRING NON-STOP with a whisk for about 5 minutes. At first the pieces of cheese join together and form a single block. Don’t worry it’s normal. Slowly they melt and become more fluid.
Step 4) – In this step, add the egg yolks one at a time and STIR. Finally incorporate the cold butter KEEPING STIRRING with the whisk.
Step 5) – Now cook over medium heat for about 20/25 minutes, making sure that the water in the double boiler pot never boils, mixing often with a wooden spoon. The consistency of the cheese fondue should not be too firm but very creamy (similar to bechamel). If the fondue seems too thick, add a little more milk. Near the end of cooking, taste it. If you think it’s bland, add a pinch of fine salt. It shouldn’t be necessary because Fontina is a salty and savory cheese. Meanwhile, cut some bread into pieces. You can use homemade bread loaf made with our recipe or even sandwich bread. Toast the pieces of bread in the oven at 180°C (350 F) for a few minutes to make croutons.
Step 6) – When ready, transfer the fondue into an electric fondue pot (or one with a small stove in the bottom); this keep the fondue warm and preserve its fluid consistency. Sprinkle with black pepper and immediately serve the Italian cheese fondue matched with croutons of toasted bread.
Serve and eat cheese fondue immediately. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days maximum and reheat before serving. No freezing.
Other ways to Make Italian Cheese Fondue
So we showed you the authentic Italian cheese fondue with Fontina but there are some variations for this dish depending on the region and the traditions of the various countries.
In fact, you can replace the Fontina cheese with Gruyere or Emmenthal or Parmigiano or you can decide to use 3 cheeses together to create a fondue mix. The result is really excellent!
Cheese Fondue Without Eggs
If you wish you can make cheese fondue without eggs, using only melted cheese and butter. The result is still excellent but you have to eat the fondue immediately and when it’s really very-super-hot to prevent the cheese from congealing.
What is Dipped in Cheese Fondue?
You can enjoy Italian cheese fondue in many different ways. In Italy the most common way is with bread croutons dipped with the help of a fork.
However, you can match cheese fondue with many other dishes:
- Fondue is often eaten with boiled potatoes or other grilled vegetables such as courgettes, peppers and aubergines.
- Fondue is sometimes poured hot on meat as a sauce.
- In Italy it’s very common to enjoy fondue with polenta, especially in mountain resorts and on the ski slopes.
- Fondue is also excellent with fruit and in particular with pears and grapes. Fruit and cheese is always a delicious combination!
- Finnally you can top your great hot cheese fondue with a few truffle flakes. A gourmet touch!
In any case you sure have made a dish of great success!
Fontina Cheese Fondue: Origins and Curiosities
The origins of the exquisite Fontina cheese are very ancient. Its name appears for the first time in a document in Latin of 1270.
The name Fontina seems to come from a production mountain pasture called Fontin; other versions connect it to the village of Fontinaz. But the name could derive from the ancient French term “fontis” or “fondis” to indicate the particular ability of the paste of this cheese to melt with heat.
Fondue is a dish that get always a great success: the first to say that this dish is “one of the tastiest in Italy” was Pellegrino Artusi in 1892 in his cooking manual.
Although the origin of the recipe is still debated – according to some it was “invented” in Turin by the Savoy family, while according to others it would be of Swiss origin – the Aosta Valley has managed to obtain its paternity, as the main ingredient of this recipe is the Fontina Valdostana DOP.
What is Fontina Valdostana DOP?
In the Aosta Valley the production of Fontina DOP is an art handed down for generations.
Fontina DOP is a semi-hard cheese made with raw whole cow’s milk. The bovine breed used for the production of milk must be exclusively the native breed of the Aosta Valley. According to tradition, these cattle can feed exclusively on hay, feed and natural herbs. This gives the cheese an extraordinary olfactory and gustatory bouquet, especially for those from the mountain pastures produced only between May and September.
The area of production, maturing and portioning of Fontina DOP cheese, must be exclusively that of the entire territory of the Aosta Valley. In 1996 Fontina obtained the Protected Designation of Origin mark (DOP=Denominazione di Origine Protetta) and in 2016 it was included in the Wall Street Journal ranking of the best cheeses in the world.
If you like cheeses with a strong taste, try these fantastic recipes: