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swirl and savor

Fondue Recipes and Pairings

Beth Ribblett

We had a wonderful evening on Thursday at the shop with our friends from St. James Cheese for our Fondue and Wine class. PJ Rosenberg from Uncorked poured some really fantastic wines to pair with the cheeses and a good time was had by all!

We were talking last night about how the American fad of fondue in the '70's kind of diminished the importance of this age old tradition in Europe.  Historically the first evidence of the practice is given to a reference in Homer's Illiad regarding a mixture of goat's cheese, flour and wine.  The middle ages in France saw the use of raw meat dipped in hot oil for a quick meal during the busy harvest season and in the18th century the Swiss created the mixture we currently use.  As a wintertime, communal meal, hard aged cheeses would be melted with garlic, wine and herbs while the hardened, stored bread could be softened by dipping into the mixture. And of course it was the Americans who popularized the dessert version where cake and fruit are dipped into melted chocolate!

But what we focused on for our event were more traditional recipes.  So here they are and also listed are the red and white wine pairings that were definitely a hit last night as well.  St. James recommends the Swissmar Fondue Sets which they sell at the their store or you can find them here at Amazon.  All of the cheeses, wines and the kirsch are available at Swirl.

The wine lineup for the evening, the Schoffit Chasselas was amazing!

Traditional Nuchateloise Swiss Fondue
Served with the 2010 Domaine Schoffit Chasselas Vieilles Vignes and the 2011 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais

1-1/2 Cup grated Gruyere or Comte
1-1/2 Cup grated Ementhaler
1/2 Cup grated Vacherin Fribourgeois
2-3 T. of flour
1 garlic clove, halved
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice1 dash Trimbach Kirsch (cherry brandy available at swirl)
Salt & fresh pepper to taste
1 pinch nutmeg

Toss the shredded cheeses and flour together in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

Combine the wine and garlic in a 2-quart fondue pot or any flame-proof dish and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes before removing and discarding the garlic.

Lower the heat so the wine barely simmers and add the cheese mixture a handful at a time, stirring constantly with a fork and letting each handful of cheese melt completely before adding another.

When all the cheese has been added and the fondue is smooth, stir in the kirsch, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Place the fondue dish over an alcohol burner in the center of the table and serve with cubed bread. Traditionally, each diner spears a cube of bread with a long fondue fork and dips it in the cheese mixture to coat it completely before eating.

Fondue aficionados know that allowing a crust of burned cheese to form on the bottom of the pot results in a treat which some consider the best part of the meal.

Italian Fondue
Served with the 2011 Caggiano Devon Greco di Tufo and the 2010 Revello Barbera D'Alba
2 T. butter
3/4 Cup whole milk
3 Egg Yolks, lightly beaten
4 oz. Fontina Val D'Aosta, grated or diced
4 oz. Sottocenere al Tatufo, grated or diced

In a bowl whisk together the milk and yokes and stir in the cheese.

Melt the butter in a double boiler set over medium heat

Whisking constantly, slowly add the egg, milk and cheese mixture until it has thickened, 8-10 minutes

Transfer to a warm fondue pot and serve with bread and vegetables