Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Drama of Wine and Cheese

~~~Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures.

I've never been much for wine.  In fact, if I have a choice, I'll choose beer every time.  At least I would have five years ago.  But with all the traveling I've been doing, that's changed.  While I still enjoy a good beer, I've found that wine is just as delicious.

As for cheese, I've enjoyed it in the past, but in my mind, it's JUST CHEESE.  Yet like wine...I've learned how wrong I was.  Cheese is something very special.
Jonathon and I just did a marvelous wine and cheese tour nearby where we live in  Switzerland.  We toured both the Emmental and Gruyeres cheese factories, walked the UNESCO vineyards in Lavaux along the banks of Lake Geneva and tried some really delicious wines.

One of the best things we did--something we'd been looking forward to--was having some traditionally made Swiss fondue.  And OMG...was it good.

For those of you who don't know, Swiss fondue is usually made with a mixture of cheeses.  The best one we tried was one made from Emmental and Gruyeres cheeses.  Add some delicious wine and a little bit of Kirsch--a type of cherry brandy, and you have a fondue fit for a king.

A hell of a lot better than the Velveeta and milk fondue of my childhood.  LOL 

Now, unlike the fondues in the US, here in Switzerland they don't use meat to dip with.  Instead, a variety of other things are used.  The basic bread which comes with the fondue as well as a small dish of boiled potatoes.

But the two other items available to dip were something quite unique.  Small cocktail onions and gerkins.  Not something you'd expect at all.  Yet they were completely delicious and added to the meal in a surprising way.  I don't think I'll ever be able to have fondue again with out them.

The meal was one of the best we've had since we've been here.  We ate until we were stuffed--three bowls full (it's unlimited fondue), and enjoyed a bottle of a local wine.  We sat in the sun and talked and laughed and ate--egged on I might add by a server who LOVED the fact we ate so much.  LOL  I batted my eyes at him and he gave me the recipe.  It might be a little different...after all, he couldn't give up ALL the secrets, but I'm assured it's his grandmama's receipe, so you know it's going to be good!

And because I like sharing, I thought I'd give it to all my readers so you can enjoy the delicious cheese fondue as well.

CJ's Waiter's Traditional Swiss Fondue

  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch (or cherry brandy can be used)
  • 1/2 pound Emmental, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 pound Gruy√®re, coarsely grated (2 cups)

Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. 

Stir together cornstarch and kirsch in a cup. 

Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). 

Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame. 

What to dip:
•Cubes of French bread
•Tiny boiled potatoes
•Cocktail Onions (white)
•Tiny gerkins

Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below.  I'll be back on Thursday with another fun blog for everyone!

Hugs to all,

PS...sorry if this post looks weird.  Blogger was having a bad day.  *sigh*

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

Sounds delish but I probably won't try it. Don't have a fondue pot. lol Sitting outside eating cheese and drinking wine sounds like a lovely way to spend the evening. : ) Looking forward to pics from the

Ray said...

One reason the Velveeta isn't as good is that it is not really cheese. It is called cheese food to avoid false advertising. It doesn't meet the standards of real cheese. Same thing with American Cheese. It isn't really cheese. Also, could you see using Wonder bread with your fondue? I couldn't Standard American white bread is what my father-in-law mixed with what he fed his hunting dogs. He would not have eaten the bread on a bet. Since I've been in Europe, neither will I.

This blog is making me hungry.

CJ England said...

Phylis, if you have a chance to try it in a genuine Swiss restaurant, do so. It's worth every penny!

CJ England said...

LOL, Ray. As a kid we ate that type because it was cheap and easy. Once I had kids of my own and did research, I was appalled. I never served that cheese or bread. Except in fondues because I didn't know any better. NOW I do and am so glad. LOL

The Whistler said...

It looks like a wonderful recipe for someone who tolerates stronger cheeses. I am one of the few who does not do well with anything stronger than a mild cheddar. My condition is so severe that I have actually considered starting the "Anti Stinky Cheese League". I wonder if the recipe could be made with some "twangless" cheese(s)?

CJ England said...

I don't think it would taste the same,Robert, but you can use any cheese. They do have milder forms of these cheeses. We tried several.

Unknown said...

Can't wait to try to fondue.

I miss my wine, been too broke to buy it.

Keep having fun and sharing with us!

CJ England said...

Let me know what you think, Connie, when you try it. I'm drooling thinking of it. LOL