Warming Up Winter with Fondue

Who isn't a fan of fondue? On a cold winter night there are few things more comforting than melted cheese, especially when friends and family are gathered around to share in the experience.

Who isn’t a fan of fondue? On a cold winter night there are few things more comforting than melted cheese, especially when friends and family are gathered around to share in the experience. Originally a peasant food, fondue sprung up as a way to feed families at the end of a long winter. Farmers would use whatever was on hand, usually cheese, bread and wine, to feed their families and make it until Spring. The word “fondue” comes from the French word “fondre” which means to melt and its origin is the Jura Mountain range between France and Switzerland.  As Switzerland industrialized, cheese producers encouraged the dishes popularity and different parts of Switzerland adapted local cheeses and wines to suit local tastes.The dish was hugely popular in the United States through the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I have vivid memories of being sent upstairs while my parents hosted fondue parties. So why is fondue so fashionable again? I think it has to do with ease of preparation and the availability of truly great cheese. It takes minimal effort and in less than an hour you have a great dinner party. Including the kids is up to you…

Serves 4 as a main course

Fairfield Cheese Company Classic Fondue

½ lb shredded Emmentaler
½ lb shredded Beeler Gruyère
1 clove fresh garlic
1½ cups dry white wine(we like Altesse, a wine from the Savoy region of France, available at Harry’s Wine & Liquor)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
2-3 tbsp Kirsch
nutmeg and/or pepper to taste

Rub ceramic or earthenware fondue pot with cut garlic. Add wine and lemon juice. Over a low to medium burner, slowly add shredded cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until cheese is smooth and melted. Bring fondue to a bubble briefly. Add seasoning, stirring until blended. Mix cornstarch and Kirsch together to form paste. Add to fondue and allow to boil for another 30 seconds. If mixture is lumpy or thicker than desired, add small amounts of wine and stir. If it is too thin add more cheese.

Serve and keep hot over burner. Dip bread, apples, broccoli, summer sausage, steamed potatoes


Fairfield Cheese Company’s Beer and Cheddar Fondue

1 ½ cups beer or dark ale

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

8 oz Shelburne Farms 2 Year Cheddar

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

In a fondue pot over medium heat, heat the beer with the garlic until bubbles appear. Toss the cheese lightly with cornstarch until evenly coated and add a handful at a time.Stirring each time until the cheese is completely melted. Stir in the mustard and keep warm over low heat.

Serve with bread cubes, apple slices, sausages and potatoes. Serve cornichons on the side

Laura Downey is an ACS, Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) and co-owner of Fairfield Cheese Company. 2090 Post Road Fairfield. 203.292.8194 www.fairfieldcheese.com



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