I love fondue, but I don't love paying $90+ for dinner for 2 at restaurants like The Melting Pot. Their full meal [cheese fondue, salad, entree fondue, dessert fondue] is exceptional, but wow, why couldn't I make it at home for a lot less? I'm cheap, what can I say? Oh wait, no, I'm frugal. Eh, call it what you wanna call it, but I figured I could do just as well at home making my fondue from scratch. Besides, I have a brand new electric fondue pot I got for Christmas that needs to be broken in --- yay!
While this was definitely less expensive than going out for dinner, it still wasn't a 'frugal' meal by any stretch of the imagination. Granted we now have one of the key ingredients [kirsch] that alone cost $14.99, so at least we won't have to shell out for that one again for a long, long time. It's a standard sized bottle of cherry flavored brandy and the recipe called for 2 tsp. I better learn to love this stuff. Or plan to make a lot more fondue. Or fuel a space ship.
The cheese itself is pretty costly too, at $16+ for 1 lb. of good quality Swiss. For those of you who keep high quality Swiss on hand, this wouldn't be too costly at all. I, however, am not one of those people. The cheese and kirsch were the 2 big expenses; everything else I pretty much had on hand [not that it required a whole lot more.]
I pulled this recipe out of a monthly handout from a local grocery store [Superfresh? Giant?] and since it was called 'classic cheese fondue', I thought it a good place to start on my fondue journey.
Classic Cheese Fondue
Grocery store magazine tear-out
1 garlic clove, halved
1 c. dry white wine
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ lb. Emmenthaler cheese, coarsely grated [2 c.]
½ lb. Gruyere, coarsely grated [2 c.]
2 tsp. kirsch
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Rub the inside of a fondue pot or heavy saucepan with cut side of garlic, and discard. Add wine and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss cheeses with cornstarch. Gradually add cheese to pot, stirring constantly until just melted and creamy [do not let boil]. Bring fondue to a simmer, add kirsch and season to taste with pepper. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 5-8 minutes.
Serve with bread and other accompaniments for dipping.
Buppy and I dipped toasted Italian bread chunks and warmed Lil' Smokies, both of which were really great with the fondue. The original recipe called for salt [to taste] along with the pepper, but the cheeses [in my opinion] made this plenty salty. Almost a little too salty, and I love salt. Which is funny, because I never salted anything when I was younger. I digress. Overall, this was a great recipe to start with. I plan to try out a few more recipes for cheese fondues and see what works best for Buppy and I. I'm really looking forward to trying out a beer-cheese fondue one of these days, but I think I'll have to wait for my next commission check so I can afford some more cheese. [Joking.] And I plan to try out a chocolate one soon too, perhaps for our monthly dinner with our good friends in April. I'll volunteer to make dessert since they're planning on making the full meal for us in our home. Yes, we have awesome friends.
Give this a try and enjoy! And if you happen to have any recipes that'll help me use up mass quantities of kirsch, gimme a holla!