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Cheese Fondue - Without the Alcohol?

Asked by mint. Answered on 18th March 2011

Full question

i read your recipe for cheese fondue in Nigella Express and i am wondering if i can substitute the liquor used in that recipe with something that is not alcoholic. What would you recommend?

Our answer

There are two different types of alcohol used in the Cheese Fondue (Nigella Express p70). Flavour is added from the wine and the Kirsch, they also to and extent reduce the risk of the fondue curdling. However the acid in the wine also helps to stop the fondue from being stringy by breaking up the protein chains in the cheese.

If alcohol is the issue then most of the alcohol from the wine will have cooked out by the time the fondue is ready and the kirsch could be omitted - just toss the grated cheese with the cornflour (cornstarch) before adding it to the fondue pot. Alternatively you could use a dry non-alcoholic white wine or light beer.

If non-alcoholic wines are also not an option then the wine can be replaced with either milk or a 50/50 mixture of milk and chicken or vegetable stock (broth). Again toss the cheese in the cornflour first and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the pot as well. The fondue will be less stable without wine so heat very gently to reduce the risk of curdling and you may get better results by using a mix of harder cheeses (such as Gruyere and even cheddar) and omitting the soft cheeses (such as Brie and Camembert). The flavour will also be much milder so you may need to add some extra seasoning or spice, such as nutmeg or even a pinch of cayenne.

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