Cheese. Honestly, what is better than cheese? Especially melted cheese. Nothing says ‘Food Porn’ more than soft, stringy, melty cheese dripping all over the place. It is sensual, and that’s a fact. The only issue is, it isn’t very good for you, and we aren’t talking about the old wives tale about it giving you nightmares. All in all, the good things in life aren’t that good for us – think butter, red wine and crackling; but that doesn’t mean we should avoid them entirely. T is from the school of thought that everything should be eaten in moderation, whereas G tends to avoid anything naughty but always craves it from time to time. However, a life that ultimately cuts out all the delicious naughty things entirely is not a life worth living. With this in mind, if you are going to gorge yourself on cheese, you better do it the proper way.
Yep, we’re talking about fondue. Originally from Switzerland, where it became the official national dish in the 1930s, the dish was popularised in the US and UK in the late 1960’s. It’s one of those amazing 70’s dinner party dishes which are so wonderfully tacky and live in the hall of fame alongside prawn cocktail, peach melba and anything in aspic. In all seriousness, it is delicious. What’s not to like? It’s a giant bowl of melted cheese and lots of things to dip into it.
Another thing we love about fondue is how social it is. As we’ve mentioned before, we love the concept of sharing and bonding over food, and it doesn’t get much better than fondue. Plonk it in the middle of the table with a range of satellite dishes for dipping, throw in some good friends, cracking music and a few too many glasses of wine and you’ve got yourself a party right there.
Now, you can either go out and get yourself a fondue set, which uses an elevated rest for the pan and candles underneath to keep the cheese hot. Or alternatively you can use a hot plate or camping stove, but even easier than that would be to use a cast iron like we have. They are famous for retaining heat, so we just chucked a small one in the oven to get really hot and transferred the cheese over to it at the last minute. It worked really well. Another plus of using this method is that if the cheese starts to coagulate, you can pop it back on the hob to melt some more. The only other equipment you will need skewers. Of course, you can use the fancy metal ones, but the disposable wooden ones work just as well and mean less to wash up. After all, they are only there to stop you burning your fingers off with hot molten cheese…
Happy dipping, cheese-fiends.
See you next Thursday,
500g Gruyere cheese
500g mild Swiss cheese (we used Edam)
1 tbsp. corn flour
180ml dry white wine
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper
Grate all the cheese into a bowl, add the cornflour and mix to coat the cheese. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the wine. Bring to a fast simmer and add a handful of cheese. Mix until it dissolves. Repeat until all the cheese has melted. Season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg and stir in the mustard and lemon juice.
Serve with an assortment of dippables: crostini, pickled onions, gherkins, grapes, apple, small roasted potatoes etc.