Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheese Fon-DO's and Fon-DON'Ts

For all you married folks, out there, is there anyone that DIDN'T get a fondue set for a wedding present? How many of you have it stored away in a dark & dusty place waiting for that perfect occasion.

For your information, there are some very good "Non-traditional" uses for a Fondue Set.

1) It can be used as an oversized Potpourri burner
2) For all you high tech Red Necks, you can use it as a stove on your next camping & hunting excursion
3) Most importantly, you can always "Regift it" to another lucky newlywed couple.

Joking aside...It is time to break out that Fondue set and fire it up.

First of all, let me explain how fondue started. It is a a Swiss-born dish (cooking lore says it was created in the 18th century in Neuchâtel to use up cheese rinds and stale bread). Fondue reached its height of popularity in North America in the 70s and 80s. Like all old fads...there is always a comeback. OK I AM STILL WAITING FOR JAMS AND PARACHUTE PANTS TO MAKE THEIR RETURN

We have lived in Switzerland for almost 6 months continuously trying to adapt to the Swiss culture. Now with the onset of Winter, my wife has been pressuring me to buy her a Fondue set. Well yesterday was the big day. Keep in mind that this is very stressful buying experience as there are only about 40,000 to choose from. After hours of searching, we found the one we were looking for....THE ONE THAT WAS ON SALE!!! (Love you mom...thanks for teaching me how sniff out those deals).

1) For Cheese Fondue, Ceramic, stoneware or enameled cast iron are best because the heavy bottoms keep it from scorching.
2) By the premade packages. The ingredient list on the Swiss Fondue package ($4.99 for 400 grams) is close to classic homemade – emmental and gruyère cheeses, white wine, potato starch to thicken, kirsch and brandy were the main ingredients.
3) Do always add a little extra kircsh and white (dry) it enabler for a more enjoyable evening.
4) Consume alot of white wine and kirsch to assist with the digestion process. (ARE YOU SEEING THE TREND? ALCOHOL IS KEY TO GOOD FONDUE)
5) Do prepare the fondue on the stovetop before transferring it to the burner. Melt the cheese completely. Over an alcohol burner or candle alone, it will never get hot enough to eat.

1) Don't make cheese fondue from scratch. If you do have the time, inclination and "Martha Stewart" or "Susie Homemaker" will, here is a good recipe. If you're doubling a cheese fondue recipe, don't double the liquid. Increase the liquid by 1 1/2. Otherwise, the fondue will be soupy, not thick.
2) Drop your bread in the cheese. Tradition has it if you drop the bread into the cheese (often known as a swimmer), the entire table must take a shot of Kirsch. Other traditions are if a woman drops her cube of bread off her fondue fork and into the pot, she must kiss all the men at the table. If a man drops food off his fork into the pot, he must supply another bottle of wine for the table.
3) Don't drink cold water with cheese fondue. Cold Water & Hot Fat do not mix very well. Supposedly, the cold liquid and melted cheese in your stomach will congeal into an indigestible ball. (But keep in mind that if this were entirely true, a cheese pizza and a beer wouldn't be the excellent partners they are.)
4) Don't use a metal pot. Metal pots cause the cheese to burn. If you do happen to crisp the cheese, don't throw away the golden (not black) crust left on the bottom of the fondue pot. It's considered a delicacy, to be peeled off and shared among fondue aficionados.
Good Luck,

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