FEBRUARY RECIPE: Cheese Fondue
by wine & cheese expert, DAN BELMONT
Bedales of Borough Market is celebrating 14th Febraury with a special event "FONDUE WITH YOUR BOO: Valentine's Day in Borough Market". We asked resident Cheese Guy, Dan Belmont, to share with you the perfect fondue recipe to try at home:
The word Fondue alone elicits a visceral response. A pot of silken, glorious, melted cheese. Fondue is sexy.
No, I didn't think so.
All good recipes start with inspiration...
Skiing in Switzerland? Mountaintop romance in the French Alps? Brewery tour in Belgium? Cheeses, like wine are known to express the place from which they were made, so let's make a pot of fondue that transports us.
Let's do Switzerland. With two fantastic base cheeses to work with (there are truly unlimited and international combinations for a full range of palates, but everything I suggest here is generally accessible and delicious).
I start with Gruyere and/or Emmenthal (Base Cheeses). The best fondue cheeses are Alpine, cooked-curd cheeses. These are the classic melters. In short - once the curd is melted, it will always melt well again. Milk sugars are caramelised, prompting the development of complex notes of caramel and browned butter. The best cheeses have a distinct fruity note too, leading the way for more inspiration and pairing possibilities.
We're going to blend in another cheese (because we're awesome), one with a little kick to add depth and additional layers of flavour. Perhaps Appenzeller for a little funk? L'Etivaz to double down on fruit? Vacherin Fribourgeois for an earthy, mushroomy kick? The options are endless.
SERVES TWO CHEESE LOVERS:
400g of Base Cheese(s)
100g of "Crank it up to eleven" Cheese
300ml of dry White Wine (something with good acidity) ...or Beer, a farmhouse saison sounds nice. ...or dry cider, and dip apple slices!
1 Garlic Clove (halved)
1 Squeeze of Lemon
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
Ground White Pepper
Cut the cheese into 1cm cubes. Don't shred or grate it - you don't want it to have to work too hard to melt back together again. Toss the cheese cubes with the corn starch in a bowl.
Peel the Garlic Clove and rub the inside of the fondue pot with it. Bring 200g of your Liquid of Choice and the Lemon Juice up to just shy of simmering. Good and steamy. Add your dusted cheese cubes a handful at a time and stir! Too thick? Add more wine. Season to taste.
Dip cubes of bread, apple slices, sausages, raw/steamed veggies, speck, baby potatoes & cornichons. Go Wild.
PRO TIP: Before serving, add 25ml of a liquor of choice! Cherry Kirsch is traditional, but you can go rogue - brandy, calvados (with the cider and apples. just saying.) grappa, whisky - you do you.
DOUBLE PRO TIP. Eventually, there will be a toasty little cheese 'chip' that you can scrape off the bottom of the pot. ...patience, young Jedi.