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Consider a Romantic Evening in with a Tasty Cheese Fondue

Feb 10, 2017 12:02PM ● By Linda Ditch
Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday for restaurants. If your idea of romance doesn’t include dining in a crowded eatery (or perhaps you can’t get the reservation time of your choice), consider spending a romantic evening at home with a luscious cheese fondue. This is a simple, cozy meal to be enjoyed in whatever intimate setting your home provides, minus the crowds.

Traditionally, cheese fondue is made with Alpine-inspired cheeses Emmenthal and Gruyère, but any melt-friendly cheese will work, including cheddar, fontina, Appenzeller, and Comté. Since they are the main ingredient, use high-quality cheeses from your favorite shop. If you’re a fan of local cheeses, visit The Cheese Board at the Vermont Farmstead (71 Artisans Way, Windsor). The staff can guide you to area cheeses that will work well in a cheese fondue. You can also pick up a fondue pot and the cookbook Great Party Fondue to expand your recipe repertoire beyond cheese.

An actual fondue pot is not necessary, though it does help keep the cheese sauce warm and melted. You can also serve the fondue in the original saucepan and return it to the stove if the sauce cools down too much and needs melting again.

Along with the fondue, serve cubed bread, diced cured meats, apple slices, and blanched vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, etc.) for dipping. Mike at Woodstock Beverage (440 Woodstock Road) can help you select a wine to enjoy with your meal. Then all you need is a special piece of dark chocolate for dessert to have the perfect romantic meal.

Cheese Fondue         

Serves 6

1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound Emmenthal cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 oz kirsch (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated nutmeg, to taste (optional)

1. Rub the inside of a medium heavy saucepan with the garlic slices. (Discard the garlic when finished.) Add the wine and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

2. Toss the two kinds of cheese together with the cornstarch. Adjust the temperature to low and add the cheese to the saucepan, a handful at a time, stirring in each handful until it is melted. Once all the cheese has melted, add the kirsch, if using. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using) to taste.

3. The finished cheese fondue can be served in the saucepan, reheating when necessary, or pour the melted cheese mixture into a fondue pot. Serve with cubed rustic bread, diced apple, cubes of cured meats, and blanched vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

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