There’s never been a better time to throw a fondue party. Yes: a things-on-skewers-dunked-into-a-vat-of-melted-cheese party.
A fondue party is actually a very fitting for early spring, since fondue was originally a way to use up hard cheese, wine, and stale bread—often the only pantry items left at the end of a long winter in Old Europe.
Whether in the form of a happy hour with friends or a cozy night in with the family, a fondue party naturally invites interaction and participation and fulfills hostess duties without subjecting yourself to over-the-top table settings or elaborate recipes. Because, at the end of the day, fondue is nothing more than a simple mixture of wine and cheese.
That being said, the most important element of a memorable batch of fondue is the cheese itself. So the best way to set yourself up for a truly fantastical fondue fête: use high quality, gourmet cheeses from Old Europe Cheese.
The Old Europe Cheese Fondue Formula:
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1 pound Reny Picot cheese of your choice (55% Fontina, 25% Gouda, 10% Mantoro, 10% Edam is an especially transcendent combo), roughly chopped into large pieces
- 2 cups dry white wine with good acidity, like a tart, crisp pinot grigio
- 2 ounces kirsch
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
Rub the inside of a saucepan with one half of the garlic clove. Use the other half for the inside of the fondue pot. Heat the cheese and wine in the saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. When it starts to bubble and thicken slightly, mix the kirsch and the cornstarch together, and then add that mixture to the pot. Stir to combine and let cook, stirring, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and then transfer to a fondue pot set over a low flame.
Old Europe Cheese Fondue Party Tips:
Mix and match cheeses. The greater the number of cheeses you combine, the more interesting the flavor of your fondue will be. Generally speaking, most fondue-friendly (read: meltable) cheeses have complementary flavors. Don’t be afraid to clean out the fridge and throw in some cheeses that may have been sitting around for a while. It’s a great way to get rid of scraps that have likely matured and become sharper.
Don’t rush it! It’s very important to heat the cheese and wine slowly so it does not burn. Melt down the cheeses over low heat and keep them in large blocks rather than grating them. This yields a superior smooth and creamy texture throughout, with no lumps.
Play around with different breads. In addition to the fundamental French baguette, try loaves of fruit and nut breads. A rustic cranberry walnut loaf is especially great, as are seeded, grainy loaves. Also consider rye, sourdough, and pumpernickel. No matter which type of bread you choose, lightly toast it (especially bread that may fall apart in the cheese) and cube it for easy spearing.
Experiment with accouterments. While there are many traditional, more familiar dippers, the options are pretty much limitless when picking your pairings. Certain fruits definitely deserve a seat at the table and this is one of few instances where raw vegetables are certainly warranted. Potatoes and mushrooms of all varieties should indeed be welcomed as well as jars of pickled anything that’s been sitting in your pantry waiting for the perfect occasion to be cracked open.
Drink! Nothing goes better with fondue than great libations. It is a party after all. Check out some of our favorite local wine pairings as well as local craft beer pairings to complete the fondue experience.
There you have it! Following these simple steps will get you on your way to fondue party success and have your guests thanking you for opening their eyes to the wonderful world of Reny Picot cheese. If you have any fondue party tips, recipes, or favorite accouterments let us know! Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or contact us today if you have any questions for us here at Old Europe Cheese. We’d love to hear from you!