Pretzel Bite and Chardonnay Fondue Recipe

Note from Chef

Many of the Sbragia followers and family members might not know this, but I am a HUGE football fan. And yes, my team IS playing in the Super Bowl this year, but I won’t tell you which in fear of being shunned by all. Well, I’m sure you guessed by that comment that I am, indeed, a Patriots fan, and a die-hard one at that! So, when thinking about game day, we usually think beer, wings, and nachos, right? I wanted to give you all a recipe that incorporated the grunginess of game day, with the sophistication of a wineo.- Estate Chef Heidi Finney 

Pretzel Dough Ingredients 

1 cup warm water (100° to 110°F)

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast

3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour plus more for work surface

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

Sbragia Olive Oil

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, well softened

Baking Pretzels:

8 cups water

1/2 cup baking soda

Pretzel salt (see Cooks’ Notes) or coarse kosher salt

For the Dough:

  1. Stir together warm water and yeast in a large bowl and let stand until a creamy beige foam develops on the surface, about 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, stir together flour, salt, and light brown sugar.
  3. Add flour mixture and butter to yeast mixture, and stir together first with a wooden spoon and then with your hands, until it forms a dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes, dusting with more flour as needed if dough sticks to work surface.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled, 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Alternatively, after kneading, let the dough rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then transfer to oiled bowl as above, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight (12 hours or up to 2 days).
  6. Punch down dough and divide into quarters. Form each quarter into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into six (2-inch) pieces, and transfer to wax paper-lined rimmed baking sheets.

Baking the Pretzels

  1. Heat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower third. Well oil 2 large baking sheets (about 17- by 12- inches).
  2. In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil (mixture will be foamy at first, but foam will dissipate). Add 12 pretzel bites and cook 30 seconds (they will rise to the surface almost immediately), then transfer with a slotted spoon to baking sheets. Quickly sprinkle pretzel bites lightly on both sides with pretzel salt before they dry (so salt sticks). Repeat with remaining pretzel bites, returning water to a boil between batches.
  3. Bake pretzel bites in the oven, switching sheets between racks and rotating sheets halfway through baking, until deep chestnut brown, 8 to 10 minutes (watch closely toward the end of baking; bites brown quickly in last few minutes). Immediately transfer pretzel bites to wire racks to cool.


6 oz Gruyere Cheese, shredded

5 oz Swiss Cheese, shredded

6 oz Cheddar Cheese (I used a blend of cheddars), shredded

1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1 Cup Gamble Ranch Chardonnay (or your favorite white wine)

½-1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice



  1. Set your fondue pot to medium heat. If you do not have a fondue pot, use the double boiler method.
  2. Blend all the cheese and cornstarch together. Set aside.
  3. Add garlic to the fondue pot. Add the Gamble and mustard and bring to a simmer.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in your cheese blend with a whisk. Mix until there are no more lumps and your fondue looks smooth.
  5. Finish with lemon juice and season with salt.
  6. If your fondue is too thick, add more wine or some water to desired consistency.