Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Put a large saucepan with an inch or two of hot water on a low heat. Put a large heatproof bowl over the saucepan
so you have a bain-marie.
Add the chopped shallots to the frying pan
and cook them gently for around 5 to 10 minutes with a pinch of salt and pepper and the herbs
. Once they've softened, but not coloured, add them to the bowl with the cider
and all of the cheese.
Leave the cheese to slowly melt
down, only stirring now and then to help it along. Once it has mostly melted, stir in the creme fraiche, then a swig or 2 of hot water to loosen the mixture a little. Have a taste to check the seasoning, and get all of your dipping ingredients and skewers at the ready.
Cook's Note: I like homemade croutons, some bread sticks and a few leftover roasted potatoes
cut in half for mine, but really anything you like to eat with cheese will be good here. When it's runny and delicious get everyone around the bowl and watch it disappear!