Wine & cheese. They are quite the pair straight from the fridge or cutting board, but, melt them together and dip veggies, bread & fruit in it, it’s a whole different story!
I ate my weight (and then some) while in Switzerland my junior year of college. It’s the most amazing and comforting meal. So simple, but so delicious. It’s a commitment of a meal though, there’s a bit of work involved throughout, and it can be heavy. I remember a time that my friend Clare, who was studying in England while I was in la Suisse, came to visit. I took her (and my parents when they came too) to Les Armures. It’s this phenomenal Swiss restaurant in the Old Town, Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton are big fans, (much to the dismay of my father) and it’s the best fondue meal I’ve ever had. Anyway, Clare and I went and, and we had the cheese fondue, onion soup, I think probably chocolate mousse too, and wine of course! At the end of the meal, Clare says: “I’ve never been drunk and full at the same time.” That’s exactly the feeling of too much fondue! (Or what I call a fon-don’t!! Bah, I really crack myself up. No?) There’s wine in the cheese, you’re drinking wine, it’s easy to overdo. It can be hard to keep track too of how much you’re really eating because everything is bite size, and you’re talking, dipping, it’s a lively and fun meal.
When I returned to the great US of A, my aunt & cousin gave me a fondue pot for my birthday. I used it a few times while away at college, we had dedicated family dinners- Taco Tuesday, calzones, and one night was fondue night. All my roommates, and our buddies as I refer to as the Tall Scrawny White Guys Club- Ben, Gian & Nate -were there, it was a great time. This weekend I decided to bring it back! Clare, Nate & Kate came over and we dined on melted Emmetaler and Gruyere cheeses with plenty of things to dip.
It was a great meal and so simple, once you cut your veggies and assemble your accoutrements all you have to do is mix up the cheese, wine, a touch of cornstarch and let it melt together. Yes, you need to keep the pot stirring occasionally and scrape the bottom, but it’s a pretty low maintenance dinner party.
There is usually some rule too- if you drop your bread in the pot, you have to kiss the person on your left. Keep that in mind for your next fondue party and be sure to seat your guests strategically.
The recipe real quick- I used Joy of Cooking’s Cheese fondue as a guide-
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
1/2 lb of Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Emmetaler cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
Rub fondue pot with garlic clove and discard. Add wine to pot and bring to a boil. Add cheeses and stir to help melt together. Once melted add the cornstarch and continue stirring so that the wine & cheese combine. Keep the setting on low and continue to stir occasionally, serve with what you like!