Flashback to Fondue
By Jenn Bronson
Fall is upon us and as the nights become cooler and the seasonal celebrations roll in, now is the time to break out those fondue pots and get to dunking. Fondue is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to share a meal and the trick to creating a successful fondue begins with the people you share it with. Whether you are snuggled up with someone special in front of the fireplace or gathered around a table full of friends, fondue’s simplicity and versatility makes it a perfect choice for an appetizer, dessert or even a full course meal.
The most popular fondue recipes include melted cheese or chocolate. For cheese fondue it is best to use a mix of cheeses for the most intense flavor. One such mix includes Swiss and Gruyere cheeses melted together with dry white wine, lemon juice, dry mustard, garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. To ensure that the cheese does not become stringy or clumpy while melting, sprinkle it with a little flour or cornstarch before dropping it into the pot. Another fabulous recipe mixes aged cheddar with Guinness, apple juice, and Worcestershire! If you are a fan of Brie, try it with dry white wine, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a splash of apple or berry flavored Brandy.
Chocolate fondue is a decadent dessert sure to please any sweet tooth. Try combining dark chocolate with heavy cream, and just a pinch of salt. Dipping bite size pieces of fresh fruit into this mixture is a delectable way to end a romantic meal. Another recipe, touted as the original, combines Toblerone pieces with heavy cream and Kirsch brandy or Cointreau! Chocolate fondue can be made by slowly melting any of your favorite chocolate bars and considering all the varieties available, the possibilities are endless. One recipe blends dessert with after dinner coffee by mingling hot espresso or regular coffee in with semisweet chocolate, granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla. Now that is the way to end any meal!
Fondue comes from the French word “fondre” meaning “to melt” and refers to the contents inside the pot. The fondue itself is delightful, but what is outside the pot, the dippables, makes a big difference in the taste as a whole. This is where fresh foods come into play. The basic dippers for cheese fondues are breads, meats, and vegetables. For chocolate fondue, fresh and dried fruits, and cakes are used most often. One of the greatest characteristics of a fondue party, besides getting together with people you enjoy sharing time with, is that it can really highlight local foods. Here in North Florida, we are very lucky to have access to a wide variety of local foods that can be used for fondue. From cheeses to meats, fruits and vegetables to breads, we have it all. What is better than sitting down to a meal made with local ingredients, supporting people in our community, and knowing where the food came from and how it was produced? For us, the basic fondue party can turn into a local sampling soirée!
As fondue season gets into full swing, think more about including local foods. Imagine spicy, smoked lamb sausage drenched in a sweet Brie mixture, or fresh from the garden broccoli dunked into a pool of cheddar and beer. And, of course, we can’t forget the favorite—a sun-ripened strawberry smothered in rich dark chocolate! When it comes to fondue, it is not just about the magnificent, melted deliciousness that is cheese and chocolate, it’s also about the fresh produce, meats, and breads that are taking the plunge. So, foodies unite, and have fun creating new combinations to share with friends, family, and that special someone.
Recipes mentioned in article can be found here: