Food From the World: Cheese Fondue

I don’t know about you but when I was young I used to consider fondue a big,pink marshmallow. I don’t know why but its name makes me think about something sweet and somehow pretentious. Imagine my startled look when I discovered that one can only make or have cheese fondue. Lots of my beliefs were shaken and I felt as if I had lost a bit of my identity.

But I bounced back rapidly when I discovered the recipe of cheese fondue. One bite of this food and your darkest thoughts run away. Like any civilized reader I expect you to know what fondue is. We’re having an elevate conversation here, right? But if you don’t know, don’t worry! No one was born with a piece of cheese fondue in their mouth. Stick with me for a little longer and you will discover a few interesting thing about fondue (PLUS…a delicious and easy recipe)!

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Cheese Fondue

fondue
Photo source: www.thefrenchtable.ca

1. As fancy as it sounds, fondue has in fact its roots in the meals of poor people. Those who didn’t  have access to fresh food during winter time would use the aged cheese and bread. After a while these ingredients would become stale and very hard to ingest so people thought at melting the cheese and combine it with herbs, garlic and wine. By dipping the bread into this mixture they would soften it and feed their tormented stomaches.

2. This is a dish specific to Switzerland and its main ingredients are the gruyère and emmentaler cheese. However, the recipe also includes cornflour, corn starch or cherry brandy.

3. It is said that cheese fondue goes great either with black tea or white wine. While the first one is great for your digestion, the other one is good for your soul. And you already have it included in the fondue so why waste that bottle?

4. This fondue is normally served in a ceramic pot named caquelon.  This has a tiny burner positioned underneath in order to maintain the fondue at a steady temperature.

5. Fondue is in fact Switzerland’s national dish. It gained that title when the Swiss Cheese Union (yes, this is as real as it gets) used this dish in order to increase the sales of cheese in the late 30s.

6. Losing your bread in the fondue will not only leave you starving but it will also get you in a bit of a trouble. Tradition says that if a man drops his bread in fondue he has to buy a round of drinks. If a woman does the same thing she must kiss all her neighbors. Now I don’t know if this refers to the neighbors at the table, of her home ones or to the neighbor states.

fondue
Photo source: www.usereallbutter.com

7. Fondue is more than a dish. Getting a bunch of people together around a common dish can encourage bonding and creates a feeling of community and sharing. The warmth of the cheese and the sweet taste of wine guarantees a good time for everyone.

8. While Americans have only come across this dish in the late 60s with the help of a jet setter that tried this wonderful dish on a ski holiday, they were the ones who came up with the chocolate fondue. And we have a winner!

9. The word ‘fondue’ describes the dishes where food is dipped into hot liquid. Whether it is beef meat cooked in hot oil (or asfonduebourguignonne as I sometimes call it) or chocolate fondue.

Cheese Fondue Recipe

400 g Gruyère cheese
400 g Emmenthaler or Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese
1 garlic clove
3 dl Sauvignon Blanc
2 teaspoons cornstarch
50 ml kirsh

How to prepare it?

1. Start by preparing the fondue pot. This means rubbing it with garlic clove. After you do this dissolve the cornstarch into the kirsch and let it rest.

2. The next step is to put the pot on medium heat while adding the cheeses and the wine. You have to stir patiently until the cheese melts. When this finally happens add the kirsch and continue stirring until you get a sort of bubbly sauce (20 minutes or so).

3. At this moment set up your fondue pot stand and burner and put the pot to the stand. The flame has to be hot enough to keep the sauce seething on the surface. When this happens start dipping pieces of bread in the fondue and make sure you do this in circular and deep movement in order to keep the sauce from getting burned.

cheese-fondue
Photo source: www.bugandbeetravels.blogspot.com

It’s delicious and easy to prepare. Try it!

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