We're fond of Cheese Fondue!
Cold, winter nights are perfect for this hot, melty cheese dish! Gather the family around the Fondue Pot and enjoy a savoury bite that really sticks to your ribs.
So easy to prepare and you can even get the kids to help chop and lay out the parts. We've chosen our favourites but you can make your fondue plate your own by adding your own faves! Pictured here are sliced baguette, chopped local MacIntosh apples, mushrooms lightly sautéed in garlic butter, Marilu's own fresh pasta (Leek and Mushroom Baci), broccoli, and Pretzel Chips and Bagel Bites. We've used the heat and serve Cheese Fondue by Fromalp and an assortment of pickles and olives to add a bit of zing.
Fondue is a winter tradition that goes a long way back to the Swiss Alps. It was first mentioned in a Zurich cookbook in 1699 and was named "Käss mit Wein zu kochen", which translates to "to cook cheese with wine". An old European tradition exists that says that anyone who loses a piece of food in the fondue pot must perform a task like singing a song for the group. So, the kids can help prepare AND then can provide some entertainment at the dinner table! It's a win-win!
Speaking of winning, Cheese Fondue has very few carbs and many brands (Fromalp included) are lactose free.
Feel like making your own Cheese Fondue? Many recipes exist but here are two to try. The first contains white wine and kirsch (cherry brandy) and the second is alcohol free.
Version 1 - Ingredients (recipe contains alcohol)
1 garlic clove, halved
1 pound Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 pound Emmentaler cheese or other Swiss cheese, grated
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch (Cherry Brandy)
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Rub the inside of a cheese fondue pot or medium enameled cast-iron casserole with the garlic clove; discard the garlic.
Combine the grated Gruyère and Emmentaler with the wine, cornstarch and lemon juice in the fondue pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses begin to melt, about 5 minutes.
Add the kirsch and a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes; don't overcook the fondue or it will get stringy. Serve at once.
Version 2 - Ingredients (alcohol-free recipe)
2 cups lightly packed shredded Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup low-sodium, good-quality chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice (don't leave this out! I just gave a quick squeeze of a lemon without properly measuring)
1 tablespoon finely minced or pressed garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of paprika
Place both the shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheeses in a gallon-size resealable bag with the cornstarch and shake until evenly coated.
In a stovetop-safe fondue pot (or in a regular saucepan or electric fondue pot), add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cheese, a small handful at a time, stirring constantly, but not briskly. It works best to use a wooden spoon and and stir in an S-shaped motion, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so it doesn't burn.
Once the cheese is melted and begins to just barely simmer, add the remaining spices and move it immediately to the table on the fondue stand with the sterno flame below. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Add more or less cheese for perfect consistency and additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.