My stepdaughter Shannon has been in town for the last 2 weeks, and the other night we were talking about foods we love. She said, “I love cheese.” What a coincidence. I love cheese!
“I really love fondue.”
I do, too!
Once we had established that she did, in fact, like the traditional Swiss kirsch-infused stinkyish cheese variety, I decided to make some for her farewell dinner before she returned to Florida.
Bring in the big guns. My husband’s best friend Martin is Swiss, currently living in Basel, Switzerland. And, he is one of the best cooks I know. 6 years ago we went on a sailing trip with him and his family through the Greek Cyclades. Usually we ate at local tavernas for dinner, but one night Martin went to a tiny market, bought some mushrooms and some other scarce supplies, and whipped up some of the best risotto I’ve ever had. This is his cheese fondue recipe, but I have dubbed it “Fondue Farewell” in honor of Shannon.
Serves 4 generously
Prep time: 30 minutes or less, depending on how many dippers you have to prepare. I parboiled the carrots and potatoes, which added about 15 minutes.
Cook time: 15 minutes
800 g (28 oz) of cheese, grated. (I used 2 types of Gruyere and 1 type of Emmentaler to make it authentically Swiss, but Martin also suggested Appenzeller, Brie, or a Portuguese hard cheese with peppercorns)
1 cup white wine or champagne
2 tsp corn starch
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Splash of Kirschwasser or Kirsch (not the sweet stuff)
Grating of Nutmeg
Pepper to taste
Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, new potatoes, gherkins, french bread, sausage, green apples…the possibilities are endless and totally up to you!
1. Chop dippers into bite-sized pieces.
2. Parboil any dippers you don’t want to eat raw by bringing a pot of water to boil. Salt the water and drop the veggies (I did carrots and potatoes and left the broccoli and cauliflower raw) into the water separately for 5 minutes each. Drain in a colander.
3. Place cheese, wine, corn starch and garlic in fondue pot or saucepan.
2. Heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly.
3. When the cheese mixture is hot, add nutmeg, fresh ground pepper, and Kirsch
4. Place the fondue pot on the table with the bowls of dippers, and have at it!
– The cooked vegetables will need to be slightly firm so they stay on the fondue fork, so don’t overcook them.
– You don’t need a fondue pot to serve fondue. I know many people who heat everything up on the stove, then serve it in a bowl, and heat it up from time to time throughout the meal.
– If you want to speed up the melting of the cheese, you can do it on top of the stove instead of in the fondue pot.
– Do NOT skip the corn starch. This prevents the cheese from separating. If you do not have cornstarch, make a roux out of flour and butter.
Pair with a dry Reisling or white burgundy (we had a Pouilly Fuisse), or an off-dry wine that will cut through the richness of the cheese.
This dinner was not only a fond farewell to Shannon, but to our wicked holiday-eating ways….but oh, what a sendoff!