Fondue is social, delicious and perfect for cold winter evenings. Here is a simple to follow classic cheese fondue recipe. There are a lot of options to choose from online and different methods. The methods vary (such as when and how to add the corn starch) but the ingredients are fairly consistent. Next year, I want to experiment with some other types of cheese fondue. Although having fondue was my idea, in this case I can take no credit for the meal, except for enjoying it. I did make some celery soup as an accompaniment, you can’t go wrong with soup when the temperatures are in the single digits.
We found using a double boiler was the most successful method of controlling the heat before we transferred the fondue to the pot. Stirring was a communal effort and we used quite a lot more wine than the recipe suggested. You do need a fondue pot, but if you don’t have one, it is worth keeping an eye out at thrift stores, yard sales or on Craig’s list. I think it is pretty easy to find under used and abandoned wedding gifts.
One of the things that makes cheese fondue fun is having lots of things to dip in. Crusty bread (in this case from Katzingers deli), brussels sprouts, cauliflower, purple potatoes. All sorts of vegetables work well and I have also seen people use apple or pear and chunks of ham. Depending on the vegetable it may be better to blanch or cook them first. Having a colorful variety of vegetables allows you to pretend that feasting on melted cheese isn’t quite so sinful.
We also had some roasted beets with trompette mushrooms and kumquats (pictured pre-roasting). The beets were from Wayward Seeds and were stunning. I wouldn’t have thought of this combination but it was a big hit.
There was some discussion about fondue etiquette and the appropriate penalty for dropping things into the fondue. In our case, it seemed that someone else would be quite happy to spear it, but the rules apparently include kissing people at the table and buying drinks. There seems to be some discrepancy as to whether you kiss to your right, left…. or everyone! As I said at the beginning, it is definitely a social occasion…. you may need to think carefully who you invite, or set the rules or the seating plan yourself.