This month’s theme is unity, and nothing spells unity better than an interactive dinner with family or close friends. In our family, we have at least one fondue a year, usually in December or January. Somehow, listening to the cold wind howling makes the fondue taste better!
Start hunting down your cheese the week before. You probably won’t find some of the cheeses at your local Walmart, so start with Wegman’s, City Market or Whole Foods if you have one close by. And a warning, the best aged cheese for a fondue is not cheap, but worth it! (If you’ve got Amazon Prime, you can have the cheese delivered to your doorstep!)
The day or two before, shop for good crusty bread. Why the day before? You want it a bit stale so that it soaks up all that cheesy goodness! Baguettes work best because you need the crust of the bread–better to grab it with your fondue fork. Consider other dippers to make your fondue veggie-licious!
- Mushrooms of your choice with stems removed
- Steamed broccoli or asparagus spears
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Large chunks of steamed carrots or baby carrots
The most tedious thing to do with a fondue is cutting the cheese (pardon the pun), which is not that bad if you are only prepping a pound and a half of cheese, but when it gets to be 5 pounds, enlist a few helpers! Your hands will thank you if you use your food processor to grate the cheeses instead!
You’ll also need some dry white wine, fresh garlic and Kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry flavored brandy, but don’t try to drink it–it tastes horrible–but it goes great IN the fondue! You’ll of course need something to serve the fondue in that keeps it warm–either a fondue pot or crock pot. We’ve found it a bit difficult to find the Sterno gel at stores–so keep a supply on hand.
Here is the recipe:
- 1 pound each Comte, Gruyere and Emmental (also called Emmentaler) cheese, the more aged the better, grated or cut into half inch (or less) cubes.
- 3-5 garlic cloves, chopped or put through a garlic press (we used 4 large ones for this recipe but not everyone is so fond of garlic…most recipes call for rubbing 2 garlic clove halves around the pot and discarding.)
- 1 cup dry white wine–Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc work well
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons Kirsch–also called Kirschwasser
- Put all the cheese in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
- Add the garlic and white wine and stir gently while cheese slowly melts.
- In a small glass or bowl, mix the flour with the Kirsch until blended.
- Now it’s time to get your fondue pot ready. Put hot water into your fondue and warm it up on the stovetop. Since fondue pots are generally ceramic or coated metal, they hold the heat AND cold. (The last thing you want to do is pour melted cheese into a cold pot! If you’re using an electric pot or crock pot, preheat it with water and then dump the water and dry before pouring in the cheese.)
- When most of the cheese is melted, stir in the Kirsch-flour mixture. Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted. It’s then ready to serve IMMEDIATELY! If cook it too much, the cheese will start separating.
Enjoy this calcium-rich dinner with a spinach salad, which will enhance the bone-building attributes of the meal because it’s rich in vitamin K. Even your lactose intolerant friends should be able to tolerate this cheese fondue! Enjoy!