Fondue Facts for Your Next Party

Historically, I have been a disaster at doing fondue.  One time the pot broke the other time I think I just blocked it out of my memory.  Nevertheless, the effort and fellowship one fun.  Well, not sending someone out to get a new meal.  Here are some facts that may help in cheese purchase and being mindful of temperature.

Fondue (French pronunciation: ​[fɔ̃’dy]) is a SwissFrench, and Italian dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a portable stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s but its origins stem from an area that covers Switzerland, France (Rhone Alps) and Italy (Piedmont and Aosta valley).

Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: fondue_zum_sechstenchocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.

Preparation

Cheese fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning. To prepare the caquelon it is first rubbed with a cut garlic clove.White wine, cheese, and often kirsch are added and stirred until melted. A small amount of cornstarch or other starch is added to prevent separation. The mixture is stirred continuously as it heats in the caquelon.

When it is ready, diners dip cubes of bread speared on a fondue fork into the mixture.

Temperature and la religieuse

A cheese fondue mixture should be kept warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot that it burns. If this temperature is held until the fondue is finished there will be a thin crust of toasted (not burnt) cheese at the bottom of the caquelon. This is called la religieuse (French for the nun). It has the texture of a cracker and is almost always lifted out and eaten.

Below is a listing of Best Cheeses for fondue.  Over the years people have also become very creative with what food can be dipped in the fondue.

Swiss

  • Neuchâteloise: Gruyère and Emmental.
  • Moitié-moitié (or half ‘n half): Gruyère and Fribourg vacherin.
  • Vaudoise: Gruyère.
  • Fribourgeoise: Fribourg vacherin wherein potatoes are often dipped instead of bread.
  • Innerschweiz: Gruyère, Emmental and sbrinz.
  • Appenzeller: Appenzeller cheese with cream added.
  • Tomato: Gruyère, Emmental, crushed tomatoes and wine.
  • Spicy: Gruyère, red and green peppers, with chili.
  • Mushroom: Gruyère, Fribourg vacherin and mushrooms.

French alpine

  • Savoyarde: Comté savoyard, Beaufort, and Emmental.
  • Jurassienne: Mature or mild Comté.

Italian alpine

Chocolate is also a very popular fondue choice.

Info from Wikipedia

 

Advertisements

European Mulled Wine Recipe

 

mulled wine.jpg

Mulled wine, (Gluhwein), is a popular Christmas drink in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It contains red wine, fruit, cloves and cinnamon and is served hot by street vendors at Christmas Fairs, (Weihnachtmarkt). It is also sold during the ski season on the slopes of many European resorts. 

Mulled Wine Recipe

Ingredients

2 bottles of medium-bodied red wine
1 cup sugar and more to taste
6 cinnamon sticks
15 cloves
grated nutmeg
2 oranges

Directions

Push the cloves into the skin of the oranges, then cut the oranges in half. Pour the wine into a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan and warm over a medium heat. Add the sugar, spices and clove studded oranges. Keep an eye on the wine and turn the heat to very low as soon as it gets close to simmering. You don’t want it to boil or it will lose its alcohol content! Taste for sugar and add more until it tastes right for you. Keep it steaming over a low heat for an hour or so to allow the spices to infuse. Ladle it into glasses or mugs and breathe in the spicy aroma.

Other things you can add to mulled wine:

Star anise, bay leaves, mace, ginger, cardamom, lemon, lime, brandy.

Olympic Gold Medalist Simon Amman: Profile of Swiss Cuisine

Switzerland's Simon Amman is the first Gold Medalist of the 2010 Vancouver and Whistler Olympics

The Multi Cultural Cooking Network is taking a look at foods from the nations of some of the athletes of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympics. Switzerland has received the first gold medal from the 2010 Olympics, and they have ski jumper Simon Amman to thank for their victory. The 28-year old Grabs, Switzerland native adds a little more bling to his collection with his third gold medal coming from the normal hill jump in Whistler, B.C..

Switzerland’s cuisine has its own winning tradition. The Swiss have a multitude of influences coming from their other Europen neighbors: France, Italy and Germany. However, the Romansh region is where most of the traditional Swiss dishes hail. With Switzerland’s long-time history of farming, it’s not surprising that some of the more unique dishes incorporate the use of potatoes and cheese (Rösti, Fondue, and Raclette).

What They Eat in Switzerland

Meant to be shared, a group enjoys the Swiss favorite, fondue cheese.

Cheese: The most identifiable cheeses are the Emmental, Gruyère, Vacherin, and Appenzelle. Cheese dishes include fondue (communal dish where diners use forks to dip bits of food in semi-liquid sauce — often cheese) and Raclette (melted cheese eaten with boiled or roasted potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions).

Rosti: Much like “hash browns,” the Swiss have eaten Rosti for generations. Considered a national dish, this a popular potato entree which used to be eaten for breakfast by many farmers in the canton of Bern. Now it is served as an accompaniment  to dishes like Cervelas (cooked sausage) or Fleishkase (specialty meat found in Switzerland, Austria and Germany consisting of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions)

Chocolate: When you think about Switzerland, it’s hard not to think about chocolate. Ever heard of Toblerone? Yes, the chocolate bar with the funky pyramid shape — a Swiss man James Tobler started that business in 1867. Nestlé, Kraft, and Lindt, all had their start as chocolate factories founded in Switzerland.

Callier chocolate

François Louis Callier (Vevey, Switzerland) opened the first chocolate factory in his country in 1819. It is now owned by Nestle

Bread: The Swiss quite enjoy the simplicity of bread. Bread rolls  come in all kinds of varieties and  for breakfast or  dinner, the Swiss eat sliced bread with butter and jam. Bread and cheese is also commonly eaten for dinner.

Cultural Influences

Italy: Zürcher Geschnetzeltes– thin strips of veal with mushroom and cream.

France: Papet vaudois –  leeks with potatoes, served with Saucisson, and/or with ‘Saucisse au foie’ and ‘Saucisse au chou’ (smoked liver or cabbage sausages).

Germany: Birchmuesli (known more commonly as Muesli) – a popular breakfast food made of uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts.

Graubünden Canton in Switzerland: Chur(er) meat pie– a popular dish from Graubünden in south eastern Switzerland.

Article by Monica Johnson