Ladies and gents, I made fondue. Fondue! YES! FONDUE!!
Fondue is awesome to make when you have friends over with whom you are comfortable sharing a pot of cheese. I guess you could try not to eat from the long fondue forks but it is kind of impossible. People love this stuff, yo.
And I am going to excuse the rest of my post by saying… um, I made fondue. And it really just gets you shithoused. IT DOES. For some reason there is just more alcohol than you anticipate, every time. It doesn’t matter how you make it or how many people eat it or what. You are wasted at the end.
Which is right now.
16 oz (1 lb.) Gruyère cheese (or Swiss Cheese)
2 T flour
2 cloves garlic
2 C white wine plus MOAR for drinking
1 T lemon juice
1 shot kirsch (AKA cherry brandy or cherry liqueur)
1 t nutmeg
1-2 loaves French bread
Optional: An apple, a pear, boiled potatoes, or blanched broccoli, cut into cubes
Shred your cheese. I am pissed I didn’t remember to get a photo of the unshredded block, since I got ACTUAL Gruyère, which is super spendy. I always used to make it with store brand Swiss when I was in grad school, so this was a momentous occasion. Oh, well.
Please ignore the red flecks in the cheese. I used my food processor to shred it, which is really easy, but which accidentally shredded the stamped rind. Um… yeah. Hey, it is not like it is poisonous. Just not so photogenic. Anyway. Sprinkle the flour onto the shredded cheese and give it kind of enough of a toss so that all of the cheese is slightly coated. The flour helps it to separate better when it hits the wine, and therefore makes it melt more uniformly and not all clumpy and weird.
Open your wine and pour 2 cups plus one glass for yourself. Mmm.
Cut your garlic clove in half and rub the cut sides on the bottom and sides of a medium-large saucepan and your fondue pot or Crockpot. Yes, Crockpot. My fondue pot was broken the last time we made it when one of my overexuberant (read: drunk) guests literally threw it into the sink and it shattered. Anyway, whatever you have. One or the other. Rub it all up with garlic. Rawr. Leave some garlic shreds strewn about the vessel because they are tasty. Then turn your Crockpot/fondue pot to low and turn your burner on low. Measure out two cups of wine and throw it in the saucepan.
Realize you forgot to cube the bread. DAMMIT! Hurriedly cube it.
When it starts to kind of form a bit of a bubbly froth on top, like it is aerating excessively but NOT boiling, add your tablespoon of lemon juice, give it a stir, then transfer to your fondue pot if you have one (or just leave it in the saucepan if you don’t), and add a smallish handful of shredded cheese.
You only add a little so you can incorporate it fully relatively quickly, and you have to stir it constantly so it doesn’t burn or congeal. If you add too much, it becomes this blob of cheese in the midst of a bunch of liquor. So just be patient! Have a drink. Mmmm, wine. When the cheese is fully incorporated it will look kind of like this:
Keep doing that. Make sure each handful melts really well, to the point that it’s just kind of cheese crumbs in the liquor. After about four handfuls it will look more like this:
You can see kind of the extent to which the cheese has melted on the spatula. When you’ve got it all stirred in, Add the KIRSCH! That is right, more liquor. Because that is how we roll. The kirsch actually helps to achieve the super-smooth consistency you want in fondue.
Sprinkle the nutmeg on top and stir it in. You can add some cracked pepper, and maybe a dash of salt, but I forgot. This is where I transferred mine to the preheated Crockpot. Keep your fondue pot heated or your Crockpot on low(ish) while you enjoy the fondue.
Serve with bread cubes and/or all the other shit I listed in the ingredients, plus MOAR WINE for drinking, because it is TRADITION, yo. We used La Crema for the fondue and Rombauer Chard to drink because it is the best and I already told you we were splurging with the fahnsay cheese, so why not the wine, too?
So there is a method for dipping. You stab the bread or whatever you’re dipping pretty securely, then plunge it to the bottom of the pot and make a figure eight with it, then bring it out. The figure eight ensures that you are kind of stirring it up, because otherwise the liquor might separate out onto the top of the cheese (if it does, just give it a stir with a spatula) or it might burn on the bottom (stir with spatula and maybe turn it down a touch). If you lose your bread into the pot, you have to forfeit a kiss (or some other agreed-upon penalty). IT IS TRADITION.
Also, if the cheese starts getting too thick and not liquidy enough for dipping, add a little bit of Kirsch at a time, stirring to incorporate, until it is the proper consistency again.
By the end of the night, you will all be drunk. If you are not drunk, you did not have enough fondue and/or did not properly enjoy the beverage service. Then you can post about it on your blog or do something you will possibly regret with one of your guests.