Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Fondling the Fondue - Bringing in the New Year with a Fondue Party

I’m a big fan of cheese, especially melted cheese. So it’s natural that I would be very attracted to the thought of a large pot of melted gooey oozy cheese - a la “fondue”.
Oddly enough, Mr FBC and I once went to a Swiss restaurant in Sydney* which listed cheese fondue on its menu. We tried ordering it but the waiter actually strongly recommended us against ordering it as he didn’t think we (as Fondue virgins) could handle the intensity of the cheese and wine flavour.
We’ve always regretted our decision (and lack of assertiveness) so we were pretty excited when a fondue opportunity arises when our close friends, Doctor J  and  the Pizza Man, decide to host a Fondue Party to welcome in the New Year.  I think I may have contributed to the idea with some subtle coaxing at an earlier dinner party when we were coming up with ideas (he, he!). Ok.. I may have just screamed out. FONDUE PARTY. 
Prior to the day, we all scoured the cupboards of our parents and various op shops for fondue party essentials. This arduous search resulted in the following finds: 
1. A large 70’s crockpot - the fascade sort looked like lobster shell. Do you see the similarity? 
2. Authentic Fondue sticks
3. An original 1970's Fondue Cookbook - 'Fondue Cookery' by Alison Burt
The Fondue Cookery cookbook was an absolute gem and provided all the necessary info on making the perfect fondue and plenty of fondue recipes. I think I saw a Curry Fondue recipe ?
We used the Traditional Fondue Recipe (see below) which used a mixture of Gruyere and Emmenthal cheese, plus some wine, lemon and cornflour. You were also meant to have kirsch, a cherry liqueur, but we didn’t have any to use.
The End Result
As for our dipping weapons of choice? We had a variety of fondue accompaniments ranging from typical, such as cubes of cut up French breadstick and vegetables to the more unusual such as cornichorns and chorizo. For future reference I would recommend using quite hard bread as the soft bread tends to drown in the cheese. And if you were wondering how the chorizo went. Well… it was really a salty cheesy explosion in your mouth!
If you really like your cheese then I’m pretty sure you could dip anything into the fondue. One thing I might try for next time is cooked potato (as recommended by the Fondue Cookbook).
Mr FBC displaying Fondue dipping action
It was so much fun to dip our fondue sticks into the pot of cheesy fondue. Truly a cheese lover’s heaven and I could have continued devouring melted cheese coated items all night. However, be warned – the fondue is quite heavy with an overpowering flavour so it’s not for the light hearted. Most people at the party could only manage a few cheese coated items.
Later in the evening and continuing on the fondue theme, we moved from melted cheese to melted chocolate. Consulting the ever informative ‘Fondue Cookery' cookbook again, we opted for the ‘Milk Chocolate Fondue’ (see recipe below). This fondue was relatively easy to make – milk chocolate and cream. Using our trusty fondue forks, we eagerly dipped an array of marshmallows, strawberries and cherries into the sweet, luscious chocolate.
At one stage, I nearly lost a marshmallow to the depths of the chocolate fondue. Supposedly, I was told that if a girl loses something in the fondue then she has to kiss all the guys in the room? Luckily, a nearby girlfriend helped me rescue my drowning marshmallow with our collective fondue fork – phew!
Chocolate Fondue
This was a wonderful way to bring in the New Year – fondue stick in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other:)  Now that Mr FBC and I are fondue connoisseurs, I’m wondering if we should venture back to the Swiss Restaurant* and order Fondue safely in the knowledge that we can absolutely positively handle the CHEESE.

Fondue Neuchatel (Traditional Cheese Fondue Recipe)
From Fondue Cookbook by Alison Burt
This recipe serves 4 (but in reality it could probably serve as many as 10 if people are only have a few fondue bits and pieces)
1 clove garlic1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups grated Emmenthal cheese
2 cups rgated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespsoons kirsch
White pepper, grated nutmeg and paprika to taste
French bread, for serving (or whatever takes your fancy)
1. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with a clove of garlic
2. Heat the wine with the lemon juice carefully
3. Add the cheese gradually stirring continuously in a 'figure of eight' motion (I assume this just helps to prevent the cheese from clumping?)
'Figure of Eight' Stirring Action
4. When mixture is bubbling, add the kirsch and cornflour, blended together.
5. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then season to taste
6. Serve with French bread cut into 1 inch cubes or whatever takes your fancy
Milk Chocolate Fondue
Also from 'Fondue Cookery' by Alison Burt
Serves 4
230g milk chocolate (we used Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate)
½ Cup cream
2 tablespoons kirsch
Marshmallows, strawberries and cherries. The Fondue Cookery also recommends using cake and biscuits (I like the sound of that!)
1.Grate chocolate and place into fondue pot with the cream
2. Stir well and heat gently, stirring until chocolate is melted
3. Add the kirsh and mix in
4. Serve with marshmallows etc

* it was the Eiger Swiss Restaurant if you were wondering. Btw, I had a look at the menu online and they even have a warning about the fondue on their website.


  1. Ahh i love fondue parties. Skewers and cheese and chocolate. So much fun, although the runny cheese does get a bit much after a while!

  2. hmm weird the restaurant warns people about the fondue! it almost sounds like a dare haha yum i love fondue

  3. So after having the fondue party, do you feel you were given good advice by the staff at the Swiss restaurant?

  4. Hi Helen - This was my first fondue party and I really liked it. I'm thinking next time we could make it even more 70's esque :)

    Hi Chocolatesuze - I know... it's odd that they warn people about the fondue. It's definitely 'dare' material. Although... most people would probably be wussy like me and steer clear of the fondue.

    Hi Simon - Well... the cheese fondue is certainly strong but I think people should give it a go once in their life. I think I'm definitely going to drag Mr FBC to that swiss restaurant again to get my cheese fondue.

  5. My favorite Chinese New Year food (though you sometimes find it all year round) is the Dragon Beard Candy, an ancient Chinese Emperor’s Dessert. It’s made into very sweet thin strands and sometimes filled with peanuts.
    If you’ve never tried it, you simply have to! The only place I know to find this online is http://www.geocities.jp/family_hong_kong/English/Dragon_Bread_Candy_index.htm .