New Year’s Eve

Posted in cooking, Ottawa, shopping

New Year’s Eve should be a grand foodie experience, something to cap off the year with lots of flavour. We had originally hoped to go out, but found nothing that really appealed to us as late-twenties and early-thirties professionals who aren’t into the club scene much and who weren’t interested in the rather inflated prices offered at most restaurants. So instead, we decided to make this fondue:

Cheese Fondue

Recipe courtesy Bob Blumer
Show: The Surreal Gourmet
Episode: Fondues and Fondont’s

1/2 pound Emmental (Swiss cheese), coarsely grated (If you do not have a grater, the cheese can be sliced into thin strips.)
1/2 pound Gruyere, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups any dry white wine
1 garlic clove, cut in 1/2
1 ounces Kirsch (cherry brandy)
1 loaf fresh crusty French, Italian, or sourdough bread, cut into bite-size chunks with 1 edge of crust on each bite

Place cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour, nutmeg, and pepper overtop, then toss thoroughly so that the flour evenly coats the cheese.

Heat wine in a medium-size pot, over medium-high heat, until tiny bubbles begin to rise to the surface.

Slowly add cheese to wine, allowing each handful to melt before adding another.

When cheese is fully melted, add Kirsch.

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with cut side of garlic clove.

Transfer entire mess to the fondue pot and maintain flame hot enough to keep cheese melted but not boiling. Place fondue pot in the center of the table, along with bread, and let guests dive in.

That was the plan, anyhow. We’d originally hoped to grab some cheese from one of several specialty shops in our area, but instead we were so busy over the last few days that shopping for the fondue got left until the last minute, late this afternoon. The selection of Gruyere at our grocery was lacking, consisting of smoked, processed cheese food ‘Gruyere’, so we instead opted to grab the President’s Choice Swiss Fondue kit. We figured we’ve enjoyed most of what we’ve eaten from PC in the past, so this couldn’t be a terrible thing to try.PC Fondue Kit

It was extremely easy to make, requiring only a quick re-heating in a pot on the stove, or zap in the microwave. Perfect for a lazy evening or if you’re having a small dinner party and want to keep things very simple.

The fondue itself had a nice flavour. The taste of both the wine and the kirsch was clearly there, which was a bit surprising given the fact that it was a pre-packaged product. The cheese was mild enough not to compete with the wine, but strong enough to be enjoyable with our various dippers. We served ours with sourdough bread, slices of apple, steamed carrots and cauliflower, and bits of fake sausage (neither of us eat the real stuff). We had plenty to eat and probably ate too much of it, if such can be said about a mixture of cheese, wine, and kirsch.

Would we buy the kit again? Absolutely. For $5 it was the same price as a small block of Emmental, which we would have needed for the original fondue recipe.

Just don’t try to eat all of it between two people in one sitting. I think a long trip to the gym is now in order.

Happy New Year!

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