(CNN) – The Swiss are known for their fondue, but their neighbors in Italy have their own opinion about this delicious dish with melted cheese.
The traditional Swiss version melts a variety of cheeses with wine and a little cornstarch for a smooth texture. The cheese mixture is then placed in a pot rubbed with a sliced clove of garlic and seasoned with nutmeg and black pepper.
But on the other side of the Alps, in the Valle d’Aosta region, the Italians have their own version of the fondue called the fondue.
Instead of Emmentaler and Gruyère, the Italians use only one cheese: fontina.
Fontina is a creamy semi-hard cheese with a mild, nutty taste.
“Italian fontina cheese from cows fed sweet grass, high in these mountains, makes fondues so juicy that it doesn’t need the white wine they add in France or Switzerland,” Stanley Tucci said.
“Oh my God, that’s so good,” Tucci said, dipping the bread into a warm pot. “So delicious!”
(Left) Sommelier and local teacher Cecilia Lazzarotto and Tucci share a meal of regional specialties from Valle d’Aosta at the Alpage restaurant.
(fondue from the Aosta Valley)
If you want to add a gourmet flair, pour a fund of freshly grated black truffles, which are in the season from December to early March and available in online specialty stores. As an alternative, try pre-sliced truffle flakes, available online all year round.
Makes 2 servings
2 ¼ cups 500 grams of font
2 cups 500 milliliters of milk
4 egg yolks
1 ¼ spoons 10 grams of multi-purpose flour
Black truffle flakes, preferably freshly grated (optional)
Bain-marie or steam boiler
Fondue gel fuel (if the container is not electric)
1. Start by removing the outer cover of the font, and then thinly slice it. Cut the fontina into cubes, and transfer the cheese to a rectangular baking dish and pour over the milk.
2. Drain the cheese and leave the excess milk for later (in the fourth step). Put the cheese cubes in the pot. Fill the bain-marie with water and make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the pot. This space between water and food helps maintain a constant temperature and overheat food. Then place the pot on top and cook the fontina over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the cheese melts, 10-15 minutes. At first you will see the mass, and then the cheese will slowly melt and become more liquid.
3. When you get the desired density, pour the egg yolks one by one, then add the flour and stir constantly.
4. If necessary, add the milk from the second step to make sure the consistency is smooth and creamy.
5. Stir well and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally remove from the heat and mix the cheese mixture.
6. When ready, pour the fondue into the fondue pot. If you are using a fondue pot that has a burner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prepare and ignite the gel fuel at the bottom under the pot that will keep the fondue warm and keep it liquid in consistency.
7. Serve the fondue immediately, while still hot, with boiled potatoes and toasted croutons.
8. Season to taste with truffle flakes.