Monday, December 27, 2010

Classic Cheese Fondue

Even though I'm enjoying warm weather and the beach I have been following the big storm in the Northeast (worry about if I will be able to come home tomorrow, wouldn't that be terrible stranded in Puerto Vallarta?) so I thought I should post something for all of you are are drudging through the snow and putting on extra layers to deal with the cold!

Saxelby Cheese's weekly Monday email was in my inbox this morning with this wonderful recipe for Classic Cheese Fondue!

Saxelby Cheesemongers' Melty Cheese Favorites:

(Raw cows' milk. Consider Bardwell Farm, VT)
Never a nicer cheese graced our humble shop. Pawlet is the ideal cheese for just about any occasion. Buttery & creamy, with a touch of tang, it achieves that perfect, ribbony consistency with just a bit o' heat.

Spring Brook Raclette
(Raw cows' milk. Spring Brook Farm, VT)
A stellar homage to the European original. This raclette is the textural equivalent of cheese velvet. Silky-smooth, and superbly meltable. The flavor strikes a delicate balance between milky and light, and salted toasted peanuts. Try the classic, or peppercorn version, which is studded throughout with whole green and black peppercorns.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve
(Raw cows' milk. Uplands Cheese, WI)
This cheese has won Best in Show three times (count 'em, three!) in the last ten years at the American Cheese Society conference. There's a reason for that. The dense, complex flavor profile of Pleasant Ridge flits and floats between freshly mown grass, buttercrunch, and tart fruits (think pineapples and cherries... and no, we're not kidding)


Now for the practical bits... To do a proper raclette, you'll need a raclette machine. Think a double decker Foreman grill with room for potatoes, veggies and meats on the upper deck, and little flat bottomed paddles underneath to melt your slices of cheese. I bought one last year and it has become my favorite party trick. A few times a year I whip that baby out, and voila! Dinner party to beat all dinner parties...

As for fondue, if you've never made it before, don't despair! It's easy as pie. All you have to do is be willing to buff up your biceps a bit while stirring in all that cheese. Who said melted cheese couldn't also be a bit of a workout?

Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe:

1 cup of grated cheese (pick one from the list above, or mix & match!)
1 clove Garlic
2 cups Dry White Wine
1 tbs Lemon Juice
2 tbs Flour
3 tbs Kirsch
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Nutmeg and/or Paprika to taste

1. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove - add clove to pot or discard

2. Heat up the white wine & lemon juice - should be hot but do not boil

3. Reduce heat to low and slowly add cheese while stirring

4. Slowly add remainder of ingredients while stirring

If fondue is too loose add more cheese

If fondue is too stiff add more wine

 'Till next week, melt cheese and be merry!

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