Special of the day: Fondue by the Fire

16 Jan Special of the day: Fondue by the Fire

Fondue by the Fire

           Living in a small village in Switzerland back in the 18th century, miles away from a large town, without access to fresh food in the winter for months on end, you, too, may have relied on bread and cheese for sustenance.  That is, until the cheese got stale. And the bread became hard as those poor Swiss villagers soon sadly found out.

As the story goes…Eventually, in an effort to make the bread and cheese more palatable, they resorted to heating the cheese over a fire and dipping the bread into it to soften it. Before long, they were adding wine and seasonings to the cheese they ate together from the pot while warming themselves around the fire, creating the concoction we now call fondue.

Now that winter us upon is here in present-day Montana with our abundance of snow and continuing cold temperatures, it’s a terrific time to hunker down inside to enjoy fondue.

Gather around the fire and stir up something simple and scrumptious. You can throw these fondue recipes together in no time.  And, really, how can you go wrong with wine, cheese and chocolate on the menu?

Stay warm and satisfied inside the comfort of your own home with this week’s Special of the Day: Fondue by the Fire and recipes for Cherry Cheese Fondue and Bittersweet Chocolate Fondue. Happy Cooking!

Cherry Cheese Fondue (serves 4, can be doubled)

1 cup dry white wine

1 lb. Gourmandise with kirsch cheese (found in the cheese case at Albertsons), cut into small     cubes

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. kirsch (cherry brandy) or brandy

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Dash of salt

½ cup dried cherries, chopped

½  tsp. almond extract

Crusty French bread cut in cubes, for dipping

Add white wine to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Add Gourmandise with kirsch cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Do not allow to boil. Reduce heat if necessary.

Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy) in small bowl and stir until well-mixed. Add cornstarch mixture to cheese mixture and stir with a wooden      spoon to combine. Add freshly ground nutmeg and salt and stir to combine. Stir in dried cherries and almond extract.

Keep warm on stove until ready to serve. Cheese fondue can be thinned with white wine if necessary. Transfer to cheese fondue pot (a ceramic or stoneware fondue pot)       whenready to serve.

Serve with crusty French bread cubes for dipping.

Enjoy!

Bittersweet Chocolate Fondue (serves 4, can be doubled)

½ cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 tsp. vanilla or other desired flavoring (almond, peppermint, etc.)

Fresh strawberries, banana slices, cake cubes, pineapple chunks or other desired cut fruit, for dipping

Combine heavy cream, sugar and butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat until simmering.

Add chocolate and let stand for one minute.

Whisk until smooth.

Whisk in vanilla or other desired flavoring (almond, peppermint, etc.) Transfer to chocolate fondue pot (a ceramic or stoneware fondue pot) when ready to serve.

Serve chocolate fondue with washed and thoroughly dried whole fresh strawberries, banana slices, cake cubes, pineapple chunks or other desired cut fruit.

Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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