It may be the shortest day of the year, but we’ve got just the thing to make you say goodbye to those winter blues: Fondue, in a classic preparation made with Emmentaler. Like most Swiss Alpine cheeses, Emmentaler is cooked into a variety of dishes, but this classic fondue is how we love it best. Now grab a crisp white wine and get ready to get cozy as you dunk treats into gooey cheese in the light of the flame.
Emmentaler, the star of this classic recipe, is a smooth, dense cheese that melts to a lovely velvet texture. A classic Swiss Alpine wheel, Emmentaler is protected by AOC regulations that require it to be produced within cooperative dairies using cultured raw, unfiltered cow’s milk sourced from within a 30-kilometer radius. The best wheels of Emmentaler—which, by the way, are some of the largest produced on a regular basis, with each wheel weighing approximately 225 pounds—are made in the summer months when milk quality is at its peak from outdoor grazing.
While the cheese can be sold after four months of aging, when the flavors are fruity and savory, with a slight bite on the finish, some affineurs mature their wheels for over a year for more complex flavor. Switzerland’s Gourmino, for example, ages Emmentaler, alongside Gruyère, in former military bunkers carved into Swiss mountains. (We featured Gourmino’s forts-turned-affinage-facilities in our recent Winter issue—check it out!)