A very Happy New Year to you all! Although this blog came into being rather late in 2012 I hope that I keep promoting and writing about all the delicious things around us!
Let’s look at a much loved wintry meal in Europe, a national dish in Switzerland, the cheese fondue. It is a mixture of melted cheese and alcohol (white wine, cherry brandy aka Kirsh), garlic, and spices such as pepper and nutmeg. The cheese and wine forms an emulsion that keeps the mixture smooth and not clumpy (similar to how some pasta sauces are made). The mixture is prepared in a fondue pot that is kept heated throughout the meal. Bread is diced into smaller pieces. A thin fondue fork is given to each guest, and the guest dips the bread into the cheese.
It is common to mix several types of cheese to create your own custom fondue mix. Popular types of cheese include Vacherin, Gruyère, Appenzeller, and Emmentaler (or, it is common just to go to the cheese section of the supermarket and ask for fondue cheese). You can also buy cheese fondue packets that are already pre-mixed.
Customarily, if you lose your bread in the cheese, as a man, you must buy a round of drinks for the table. As a woman, you must kiss a man at the table.
It is tradition to enjoy schnapps and white wine during and after the meal, as it is thought to simulate the digestion. According to the University of Zurich, the total opposite happens. Instead it is encouraged to drink black tea – too bad!
The first time I tried cheese fondue was when my German friend kindly hosted one in his shared flat with his roommate. I had never eaten so much cheese in my life and my stomach promptly rebelled. But I love fondue!! It’s great fun with friends!