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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cheese Fondue

Easy   |  makes 3 cups fondue

Cheese Fondue is the ultimate winter nibble. It is warm, gooey, comforting and really tasty. Served alongside some roasted chestnuts and matching red wine or an extra large hot beverage makes for an absolute beautiful tucked in and cozy night. 

The best thing about fondue is that it is a very social dish. It is the type of food you have with friends while chatting. I love serving Fondue when my friends are over, and love the freedom it gives me to actually be with them rather than in and out of the kitchen.

Gruyère Cheese Factory
If - like me - you are interested in knowing how foods came about and how they were created, then here is a little bit about the origins of fondue. 

Fondue is in fact a very old preparation. There is a dispute about whether fondue is Swiss or French originally, but what is known is that it originated in an area that did not belong to either country, which later on became part of Switzerland. With that said, the first documented recipes of Fondue where all in French, and written by French cooks and French food writers.

The Earliest recipes of cheese fondue are very different from modern recipes, and always included the addition of eggs. One of the early ways of making fondue, eggs were added to the melted cheese and then scrambled. The other preparation was more like a cheese soufflé. It was not until the early 1900's that fondue preparation took the simpler approach that we know in today's recipes.

It's been known that fondue originated as the food of peasants. Which makes sense, because it made use of old hard cheese and old stale breads. But because of its goodness, and its social characteristic, fondue became very popularly spread amongst people of all backgrounds.

It is worth mentioning here that there are 3 types of fondue: 

  • cheese fondue 
  • chocolate fondue 
  • beef fondue

For a rustic feel, hand-tear baguettes instead of slicing them neatly. Then Just dip them in!!

Fondue parties have made a comeback from the 70's when they were most popular, and are now back in fashion. Just prepare your fondue, and since rustic is the utmost stylish genre of the moment, serve it with whole baguettes and some that are torn into pieces by hand, rather than symmetrically cubed.
You can serve cheese fondue with a variety of accompaniments; crudités, crackers, bread sticks, pears, apples, grapes, pickles, olives, jams...etc

Nowadays, there are many options when it comes to fondue serving-ware, from fountain machines, to copper pots, to electric heaters and everything in between. it doesn't matter how you serve it, just make sure the cheese stays warm for the ultimate flavour and effect.
There are many recipes, and you can play around with the ingredients as you like. However, it is usually made using Gruyère cheese with Emmental or swiss cheese. Some have used cheddar as well. Feel Free to experiment and come up with your own version.

Meanwhile, here is mine...

You Need
3 cups shredded Gruyère
2 cups shredded Emmental
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups dry white wine or (1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup white grape vinegar)
1/4 cup half and half or light cream
2 tbsp kirsch (optional)
Crushed Pecans (optional)
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of white pepper

Stand grated cheeses at room temperature for 30 minutes. Coat cheeses with flour and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat wine or vinegar over medium heat until small bubbles start rising to the surface - just before boiling pint - reduce heat to low and gradually add in the coated cheese stirring continuously. make sure cheese is melted after each addition before adding more. Stir until the mixture bubbles gently. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, kirsch and spices and mix well. Transfer to fondue pot, keeping it bubbling gently over fondue burner.

If mixture becomes too thick from the heat, stir in more milk. Serve with a variety of breads, vegetables, fruits, olives...etc

Hope you have enjoyed this recipe, and that you will have it on your menu the next time you entertain friends at home.

I love cheese Fondue, and most people don't mind melted cheese lol so I kind of think your friends are going to love you for it. :))

Let me know how it turns out when you make it...