Fondue is a fun treat that can be a delightful meal replacement or an unforgettable dessert. However, we feel like fondue doesn’t get the treatment it deserves, which is a real shame. Quality fondue can change your life if you let it, but many underestimate how good it can be. We get it – it’s not every day that you want to melt down a pot of gruyere cheese and start dipping. However, if you plan a night well, you can have a truly magical experience. One thing is for sure: the best bread for fondue is a key question.
We break down some bread varieties that may fall by the wayside in normal life but start to shine when the fondue comes out. We’ll cover savory and sweet fondues, so if you prefer, we’ll try to cover everything for you. However, as a general rule of thumb, we don’t recommend pairing bread with your dessert or chocolate fondue, as that can make for a slightly odd combination. But let’s get into the list of best breads for cheese fondue.
What’s the Deal With Fondue?
Evidence suggests that the history of fondue dates back thousands of years, but what we know as fondue today has only been around since the 1800s. We owe it to the French, as we owe them many different kinds of cuisine. However, various cultures, particularly the Swiss, have made the dish their own over the years. You would be hard-pressed to find two identical fondues when scouring the rural villages of Western Europe – everybody seems to do their cheese fondue recipe differently.
One thing that everyone certainly does differently is the bread. You can go with a baguette, sourdough, white, wheat – whatever your heart desires. The kind of cheese your fondue consists of will play a significant role, as you want the culinary pairing to make sense on the palate. However, there is no right or wrong way to do things. That’s what everybody seems to love about what’s at the heart of fondue. It’s casual yet consistently delicious. In other words, it’s tough to mess up a fondue night – if you have quality cheese and some decent bread, you will undoubtedly enjoy your night.
Does the Type of Bread You Choose Really Matter?
Maybe you aren’t the most well-versed person regarding how many different kinds of bread there are to try with your classic cheese fondue. Let’s just say you can’t go wrong. Rye bread can be an excellent pick for a fondue night, especially if you’re working with a fondue with Swiss cheese. That is a timeless pairing for a reason. White and whole wheat bread are safer options with just about any fondue. They can be good picks if you’re trying to show off a particular cheese or cheese mixture that you want to come through. Maybe you perfectly merged goat cheese and aged white cheddar cheese – in this case, perhaps a plain kind of bread is the right way to go.
Even stale bread can work if you give it more time in the pot when dipping away. While this might sound strange, it isn’t, especially if you’re someone who likes soaking their bread in their cheese fondue pot once things get going. When you’re trying to pick your bread, we encourage you not to worry too much about whether or not a pairing is correct. Just go with your gut and what your taste buds want. They probably aren’t wrong.
Types of Bread and Their Perfect Pairings
If you’re trying to do everything by the book for your next fondue night, we can help you. Let’s talk about pairings and what works well together. After all, while it doesn’t really matter, these pairings can at least give you some ideas to try on your next melted-cheese excursion, so why not?
Baguettes are a staple of any fondue night because they provide that perfect mix of bite and softness. The hard crust yields a chewy but tender interior that is good on its own – and heavenly when melted cheese enters the picture. We’d recommend pairing baguettes with an odorous, funky fondue with much to say. Baguettes are delicious, but they can also be a little plain sometimes. Give them an exciting partner to have fun with!
Sourdough bread has a distinctive flavor, and while there are many different kinds of sourdough, they usually have a reasonably similar profile. Because sourdough bread can have a bit of a bite, it might be best paired with feta cheese or something similar. The two intense flavors can balance each other out, especially if they have sour undertones.
If you are a fan of bread with some real substance, then you might like the stuff with seeds and nuts layered into it. This bread has texture, so it’s best paired with something smooth and creamy. We’d recommend an excellent gruyere cheese fondue or something similar. You want the textures to make sense while staying true to the flavor profiles.
We mentioned before that rye bread goes great with Swiss cheese fondue. It would also work well with gruyere and just about anything. Rye bread has a distinctive flavor and mouthfeel but isn’t overpowering. There aren’t too many cheese fondues that wouldn’t work with rye bread, so don’t feel too scared to experiment.
Italian bread, like white and wheat sandwich bread, doesn’t have much to say. While you might feel compelled to pair it with mozzarella or parmigiano reggiano, don’t! Italian bread will work with just about any fondue there is – it’s a jack of all trades and will fit seamlessly into any mixture with melted cheese. Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheese that didn’t taste delicious on Italian bread.
Soda bread is known for its delightfully soft and fluffy interior. It’s incredibly easy to eat on its own. A particularly dangerous bread for this reason, it might be best to pair soda bread with a slightly daring fondue mixture. Think of something stinky like Lindenberg or Camembert. While these cheeses are not for the faint of heart, a bread that is easy to ingest can make them much less scary.
What Else Can I Dip In My Fondue?
Fondue is so well-revered because it’s such an incredibly versatile substance. After all, it’s just a creamy melted cheese sauce, right? So, whatever you like pairing with cheese is something you can probably go ahead and dip into your next pot of fondue. Let’s get some examples going, shall we?
While some people don’t like eating their vegetables, even when they are well on their way into adulthood, fondue can make the experience a bit more enjoyable. Stuff like Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (technically a fruit, we know), roasted potatoes, and green beans can make for excellent additions to any fondue night. They can also make you feel slightly better about eating an entire pot of melted cheese.
If you don’t have a lot of extra dippable substances lying around, it’s fine to make do with what you have. Stale bread cubes will soften when dipped into hot cheese sauce. Potato chips or tortilla chips will do in a pinch. After all, who doesn’t like makeshift nachos or cheesy potatoes? Pretzel sticks are also a popular dipping tool, and they have the added benefit of being versatile enough to work in both savory and sweet fondues.
If you have a dessert fondue, fruit can be a welcome addition to the evening. Strawberries are the most popular dipping item in a dessert fondue, not just for their flavor profile. They are also relatively easy to hold. The same goes for tart Granny Smith apples – preferably sliced up into pieces that are easy to hold and eat. Bananas are another excellent dipping item, but you might want to bring in those pretzel sticks we mentioned earlier. Eating a whole banana on a fondue fork sounds like over-commitment.
Remember to Have a Good Time
Fondue nights can be relaxed and stimulating events. While you want to plan your evenings and do everything right, don’t worry about pairing the right bread with the right cheese, chocolate, or whatever you have melted down. If it tastes good, then eat it and stop worrying right there. While there are many recommendations that experts can make about what goes with what, the personal preferences of you and your fellow fondue fans are much more important. So, take some chances and try new cheeses or crusts. We hope you have a lovely time on your next fondue adventure.