Do You Fondue?

Mr Munch went to Switzerland for work this past Bank Holiday and had apparently failed to eat any Swiss bits but, true to form, managed to bring home some rather posh looking Swiss cheese and a bottle of kirsch for a traditional fondue to be made in the Eating Kent kitchen. So, this is not a particularly local recipe, in fact the main feature's ingredients are rather well travelled, but all of the dippers are British, and we stayed vegetarian, so I don't think we really broke any rules...

Wanting to do it justice I didn't really stray from a basic fondue recipe and decided to keep the cheese goo simple, but effective. One of the cheeses procured is something that I hadn't encountered before called Vacherin Fribourgeois. Now let me tell you, as a lover of stinky cheeses, this is one of the most pungent and vile smelling cheeses I have ever encountered. Next time I will be getting the less nasally sensitive Mr Munch to grate it, as he called it "interesting" whereas I kept checking to see if the dog had walked anything nasty in. Oh no, just the smell of my grating hand then. Lovely. Saying that, it did work extremely well in the fondue and was delicious to eat once I got over the stench of cooking cat pee. Basically, if you don't like a stinky cheese, this one is not for you as even I struggled, so probably best to stick to an emmental.

My top tip for a successful fondue as a an actual bonafide dinner is to be creative with your dippers. Yes, everyone is addicted to bread, but there isn't much you can't make extra yummy with a liberal coating of melted cheese.

I Do Fondue
Serves 2 piggies as a complete dinner

for the fondue
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 pint white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp kirsch
1 tsp corn flour
200g vacherin fribourgeois, grated
250g gruyere surchoix, grated
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly grated black pepper

for the dippers
crusty bread
potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
asparagus spears
carrots, peeled and chopped into chunky sticks
cauliflower, cut into florets
sugar snap peas
cherry tomatoes
spring onions, trimmed

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 7 or equivalent, and pop your potatoes in a pan of salted water and boil for 5-8 minutes. Pop a baking tray in the oven with your chosen fat on for your roast potatoes.
  2. Once fork tender, remove and drain your potatoes, reserving the water, and place your spuds on your pre heated baking tray, salt and pop in the oven for up to an hour or until suitably roasted.
  3. Pre-heat a second oven to gas mark 4 or equivalent. Rub the sides of your fondue pot with the garlic halves and pop in the oven to warm, reserving the halves.
  4. In a saucepan, put your wine and lemon juice and heat until just about boiling. Turn the heat down low and add in handfuls of your cheese and stir constantly until melted. Repeat with all of the cheese.
  5. Blanch your cauliflower florets in the reserved potato water, grill your asparagus spears and warm your bread.
  6. Once all of your cheese mixture is melted and smooth, dilute the corn flour in the kirsch and stir into the cheese and wine mixture. Throw in the garlic halves from earlier.
  7. Plate up your dippers on serving dishes and carefully, using lots of heat protective equipment, transfer your melted cheese into your pre-heated fondue pot. Add black pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  8. Serve with some rocket leaves you're going to pretend you'll eat and get stabbing and gooing all of your dippers, preferably with fondue sticks and not your bare, easily burnt fingers. Be careful not to drop a dipper in the cheese goo, apparently it incurs a forfeit of having to remove an item of clothing. I don't know if this is a Swiss thing or just a Mr Munch inherited rule, but either way, it's probably best to save fondue-ing the do for warmer weather.


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