To make her fondue especially rich and creamy, Ali Larter adds Brie to a mix of Swiss cheeses. She serves the fondue with bread as well as more original accompaniments like fennel wedges and tangy cornichons.
Chef Ryan Hardy makes his luxurious fondue with two kinds of Swiss cheese (Emmentaler and Gruyère) and two kinds of spirits (white wine and Kirsch), all traditional ingredients. Some of the dipping items are also classic, like cubes of crusty bread and pickles, but some are unconventional, like slices of Hardy's salami and other hearty house-cured charcuterie, which are all wonderful with the winey fondue.
Matt Lewis is enamored of fondue—in fact, he had a special pot made for dessert fondues at his former Manhattan shop, Chocolate Bar. His terrific cheddar-Jack cheese fondue includes whiskey, which adds a great kick.
"My friend Natalie's mother, who lives in Amsterdam, brings me aged Gouda each year," chef Barbara Lynch says. "I wanted to serve it as a fondue instead of on its own as an hors d'oeuvre." For those without an overseas cheese connection, Lynch suggests buying an eight-month-aged Gouda—"Nothing too smoky; just a beautiful, salty Gouda."
Caroline Yeh sells extraordinary candies from small European and American producers. She's also an excellent home cook and baker with a passion for chocolate. Fragrant with cinnamon, clove, cardamom and ginger, her fondue holds up remarkably well at room temperature, which makes it good for parties—especially when it's served with gingerbread, apples or shortbread for dunking.