In general, one of the best rules of thumb when shopping for cheese is to use the more economical varieties for cooking and to splurge when purchasing for a cheese plate. Fondue is the exception to that rule, and it's easy to understand why: Except for the kirsch (of if you prefer, a sweet white wine or cherry lambic beer will suffice) cheese is the primary ingredient in this delectable goo. So a little more expense on the cheese can go a very long way in turning a fondue from merely delicious to downright magical. Below are five suggestions.
So how do you find such delights? Culture Magazine, the quarterly glossy devoted to cheese has a directory of reputable cheese retailers in the back of each issue and on their website. Otherwise, a good shop will be more than happy to overnight you the cheese. However, it's much more fun to shop in person and try the cheeses, just mind your manners when you do.
About the author: Martin Johnson runs The Joy of Cheese, a series of informal cheese tastings that take place at four New York City bars and the 92nd Street Y. He has worked in and around cheese for 27 years, and he spends his Saturdays on the counter of the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn. He blogs at www.thejoyofcheese.com