Ah, fondue. Another 1960s trend that’s back en vogue—hopefully, to stay. To create the most crowd-pleasing pot possible, select cheeses that are superior at—you guessed it—melting. (In general, a cheese melts only when its protein structure is both resilient enough to stay together and tender enough to flow when heated, which explains why many young cheeses melt while their older counterparts don’t.) It makes sense that this warming, interactive dish originated in Switzerland: Many iconic Swiss cheeses are magnificent melters. So, start with Gruyère and Emmentaler, then layer in other choice cheeses: Havarti, raclette, fontina, Cantal, even Monterey Jack have the right consistency.
You can sneak in about 25 percent of a non-melting cheese, too, such as aged cheddar, aged gouda, or a grana style for flavor—any more will create clumpy gobs that cling to bread or fruit pieces.
To ensure fondue success, add one to two teaspoons of cornstarch or flour per pound of cheese—these starches help keep melted components from separating. White wine or kirsch (cherry brandy), about one cup per pound of cheese, will thin out and flavor the mix. Once you’ve mastered the basic blend (find a time-tested recipe here), feel free to “dip” into more experimental territory.