FIVE FONDUE FACTS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW

Ah, fondue. Some people think of it as the flash-in-the-pot dinner party craze of the 60’s and 70’s, conjuring up thoughts of turtleneck sweaters and expensive gift fondue sets sitting unused for decades. But things are changing for the noble melted cheese dish! With quality cheese more easily accessible to Americans, fondue is experiencing resurgence in a big way and we think this time it’s here to stay. So take a moment to learn a little more about everyone’s favorite communal meal.

 1. Fondue is over 400 years old!

Written records of fondue date back to the late 17th century, when a bare bones version of the dish calling for cheese, wine and bread for dipping appeared in a Swiss cookbook. Fondue showed up in print in various other incarnations through the 18th and 19th centuries, the recipes calling for eggs and often construed as something closer to a custard or cheese soufflé than the hot dip that we know it as today. Towards the end of the 19th century recipes began to appear for an emulsified melted cheese concoction, and in the early 20th cornstarch was added to the bill to more easily stabilize the mixture. Variations on the theme and regional takes still abounded, the idea of fondue as a hot dish for communal dipping took form and became recognizable throughout Europe.

2. There’s more than one way to melt a bunch of cheese in a pot

As with most traditional dishes, there is no shortage of regional variations. The well-known Neuchateloise version calls for a balanced mix of Gruyere and Emmental; the Innerschweiz like a blend of Gruyere, Emmental and a spiking of bright Sprinz; the Appenzeller variety uses – you guessed it – Appenzeller cheese, lengthened with warm cream. Whatever the chosen blend, a great fondue is accompanied by cubed bread for dipping, as well as charcuterie and veggies. Can you cover it in cheese? Then ‘due it up. An assortment of pickled or brined treats to cleanse the palate between bites is also a great idea.

3. The Great Beverage Debate

If you want to know what to drink with fondue, there are two major camps: Black Tea vs White Wine. Some say black tea is better for your digestion. Some say white wine is in the fondue already, why not also have a glass with the meal?

We say: drink whatever you like – tea, wine, and even beer all make great accompaniments.

4. Fondue: Favored dish of flirts

Tradition states that if bread falls off a woman’s fork and into the pot she must kiss her neighbor. If a man drops anything into the pot he has to buy a round of drinks for the table.

We say: Anything goes!… Except double-dipping.

5. Actual fact: cheese brings people together

Fondue is more than just a meal. The spirit of sitting around a hot pot and sharing a communal meal is essential to the experience and necessitated by the dish. There’s something wonderful about the hands-on element, the light of the flame, and the warmth of the dish that just guarantees a good time.

So ditch the misconceptions and warm your cold winter nights with a venerable bubbling pot of cheesy happiness. We at Murray’s are here to help!

Three Ways to Do the ‘Due

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.

And we’ll let you in on a little secret: Fondue is the perfect storm of minimal effort and maximum rewards. A true cornerstone of entertaining for lazy people. It’s so easy that we made three batches in an just under an hour to try out some new recipes, which you’ll find below. What are you waiting for? Get melting!

RECIPE #1 : Basic Fondue

This is the “classic” recipe most people think of when thinking of fondue. Want to add a little flair to your fondue? Substitute 1/4 lb of any cheese below with a more flavorful Alpine style cheese like Scharfe Maxx, Etivaz, or Vacherin Friborgeois.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 Cup Chardonnay

½# Gruyere, shredded

½# Emmenthaler, shredded

¼# Appenzeller, shredded

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp Kirsch (if desired)

Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

Method:

  1.  Take garlic glove and cut in half.  Rub the garlic clove halves all over the inside of your fondue pot or thick bottomed pot on your stove.
  2. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.
  3. In a large bowl combine all cheeses and the cornstarch tossing the cheese several times until all cornstarch has evenly coated the cheese.
  4. Add cheese to the liquid in the pot over low heat.
  5. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.  Approximately 7-10 minutes until all cheese has been fully melted and your fondue has a smooth consistency.
  6. Add nutmeg.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve it up!  Keep over low flame to keep fondue melted.

Accompaniments of apples, ham, crusty bread, and cornichons will complete your meal.

RECIPE #2: Steve’s Fondue

A funky twist on a classic. The combination of Etivaz, nutmeg and Piri Piri makes this fondue especially rich, flavorful and nuanced in a way that will make people say, “Do I detect a hint of…?” Yes. Yes you do.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 cup Samuel Adams Boston Lager or other Lager

½# Gruyere, shredded

½# Emmenthaler, shredded

¼# Etivaz, shredded

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 teaspoons Piri Piri

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Method:

Follow method for basic fondue. Add Piri Piri at the end, seasoning to taste.

Serve with accompaniments of your choice. We like it with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes, chorizo, tasso ham, and crusty bread.

Recipe #3: Matt’s Fondue

If you’re ready to take your fondue to the next level, also known as “The Maxx,” this is the ‘due for you. Bold flavor, silky smooth texture and unmistakable nuttiness.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 cup Samuel Adams Boston Lager or other Lager

½# Scharfe Maxx, shredded

½# Gruyere, shredded

¼# Appenzeller, shredded

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp lemon Juice

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Method:

Follow method for Basic Fondue.

Serve with accompaniments of your choice. We like apples, saucisson sec, potatoes, roasted fennel or pearl onions, crusty bread, and cornichons.