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Old 10-17-2008, 04:30 PM   #1
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Best wine to use for Onion soup??

A friend who knows I am into cooking asked me what the best wine to use when making French Onion Soup. I thought about it, and I just use what I have lying around ( which is 6 gallons of homemade kiwi wine). I was wondering what the proper wine would be. Also, while on the onion soup topic, what cheese does everyone use to melt on top ?? Thanks in advance,Larry

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Old 10-17-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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I usually use whatever white wine I have laying around, and beef stock. I know alot of recipes call for both chicken & beef, but I only use beef. I think it makes it richer. If I have guyere(sp) I top the bread with that with a sprinkle of parm. If not, I use monterey jack topped with parm. Not the most typical recipe, but my spin.
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Old 10-17-2008, 05:08 PM   #3
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Not sure about the wine.

The traditional cheese for French Onion Soup is Gruyere.

OOPS. Read the question wrong. A dry non-oaky wine such as a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc is good.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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i use any hearty red wine. and i use provolone cheese. all beef stock here and good sweet onions. my family inhales it.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:43 PM   #5
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non-tannic red wine, such as Beaujolais or Rhone blends. Gruyere or Comté or Emmentaler (any good Swiss cheese will do!) only beef stock, unless I get lucky and have lamb stock around.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:17 PM   #6
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Sherry (dry) and half chicken and half beef and good Swiss cheese
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:33 AM   #7
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Yup, I'll second the sherry suggestion.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:18 AM   #8
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Yup, I'll second the sherry suggestion.
Same here and for me it has to be a real sherry wine from Spain. I have used other wines and they are OK if thats all you have but the dry sherry wine is the best. IMHO I also use all beef stock. The most important thing for this soup is to to cook the onions until a real dark brown not golden brown.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:24 AM   #9
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Sherry (dry) and half chicken and half beef and good Swiss cheese
I love onion soup and make it often. I played around with a recipe til I had it perfect and Dave does what I do. Half chicken, half beef broth and sherry. If I happen to be out of sherry, I use brandy. But I like the sherry best. One fourth cup is all you need to make a huge difference in flavor. The sharpness and sweetness of the sherry gives the soup that "French" flair.
And I use both Havarti and Gruyere to top along with a good sprinkle of parmesan over the croutons. Dynamite soup!!!
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:58 PM   #10
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According to the late great diva Julia Child in her wonderful book The Way To Cook, the proper spirits for her absolutely fabulous "French Onion Soup" (which I make all the time & which in my opinion is the standard by which all others should be judged - lol!), are "1 cup of dry white French vermouth" along with "4 to 5 Tbs Cognac, Armagnac, or other good brandy" (I've always used Cognac). The above amounts are based on 2-1/2 quarts of beef stock (I sub in chicken stock, which I actually like better & less overpowering to the other ingredients than beef).

As far as the cheese for her "Onion Soup Gratineed", Julia's recipe here calls for "1 to 2 ounces Swiss cheese, very thinly sliced", plus "3/4 to 1 cup finely grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese". Here I have to admit that I too prefer the use of grated Gruyere or a combination of grated Gruyere & grated Swiss.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:30 PM   #11
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Gruyère IS Swiss Cheese.
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:43 AM   #12
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"Gruyere" IS a variety of cheese from "Switzerland" - thus can be considered "Swiss". But if you want to sit down & do a taste comparison between "Gruyere" & other cheeses normally considered "Swiss" type - "Emmanthal" & "Jarlsberg", for instance - you'll find that "Gruyere" is completely different. I don't find it automatically interchangeable with what's normally called "Swiss Cheese".
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:12 AM   #13
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Funny this should be brought up, because i just got back from the store and I bought Gruyere and swiss cheese so I could do a 50/50 on my onion soup. As I was unpacking the cheeses, I looked at the packages and both said swiss. My first reaction was Oh crap, I must have grabbed the wrong one, but then i flipped the package over, and the other side said Gruyere. So, I did the taste test, just to make sure I wasnt doing a 50/50 of the same thing. Sure, there was an obvious difference, and yes, both from switzerland too.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:32 AM   #14
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Yup - the only things "Gruyere" & "Swiss Cheese" have in common is that they both originated in Switzerland. That's it.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:27 AM   #15
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Dry Sherry here.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:08 PM   #16
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Yup - the only things "Gruyere" & "Swiss Cheese" have in common is that they both originated in Switzerland. That's it.
Sorry, but Gruyère is still Swiss Cheese. So is Emmental, and a whole bunch of other cheeses that are made in the same style, IN Switzerland. Each town (which is what Gruyère and Emmental are) names its unique cheese after itself. That which is called just "Swiss Cheese," contains milk from cows from anywhere in the country. Thus, the generic term. But they are all TRUE Swiss cheeses. The difference in flavors comes from the different things the cows eat at whatever time of year the milk for the cheese comes from, and the unique flavors of the microareas they are from, not to mention how long the cheese is aged, and whether or not the milk for the cheese has been pasteurized.

(Kinda like wine from Napa Valley is from California, and so is California Table Wine, but the grapes used in Napa Valley wine must come from the region known as Napa Valley.)
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:17 PM   #17
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Whatever, June. I'm not going to get into a sidetracked argument with you over cheese-origin semantics - lol! We're talking about topping French Onion Soup here.

The fact remains that "Gruyere" has a taste all it's own, & tastes completely different from other "Swiss" cheeses. Thus the two can be mixed to top French Onion Soup without fear of just duplicating identical-tasting cheeses. And that's really the only thing that has any bearing on this thread.
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:25 PM   #18
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Pretty much anywhere in the USA, if you walk into a deli and ask for a quarter pound of Swiss cheese, you're going to get Emmentaler. One place in a hundred you will be asked what kind of Swiss.

I use a Julia Child recipe for French onion soup gratinee and it specifically calls for Gruyere and white wine. In earlier threads, on this subject I discovered Breezy's recipe from Julia is different from the one I have. Just goes to show Julia wasn't afraid to change things around from time to time.
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:10 PM   #19
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Ok, so im reading the gruyere/ swiss cheese debate here to my wife. Aside from calling me fight starter ( since my threads seam to end up in debate), she brought up a good point. If it is FRENCH onion soup, why is the cheese placed on top from Switzerland ??? Honestly, I would have thought Gruyere cheese was French until this thread. Any thoughts ??
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:18 PM   #20
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You're right AndyM. It's extremely doubtful that a shop (unless it's a bonafide cheese shop or cheese counter in an upscale market) will ask you ahead of time if you want Gruyere or Jarlsberg if you ask for Swiss - lol!! In fact, I've never had a cheese shop even consider Gruyere in the request. If you want Gruyere, you have to ask for Gruyere.

And yes, Julia had more than one recipe for French Onion Soup, & the one in "The Way To Cook" is by far my favorite. In fact, "The Way To Cook" is my favorite "Julia" cookbook for pretty much everything. I've been using her steam-roasted goose recipe for my Xmas goose since the day "The Way To Cook" hit the bookstores. I use it so often it's literally falling to pieces & I currently have it taped together - lol!

As far as why Gruyere, Swiss, & Parmesan are such popular toppings for French Onion Soup, I have no answer except that they meld so beautifully with the stock, onions, wine, & cognac. The French have never had problems with borrowing high-quality ingredients from other cultures.
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