Photo Credit: Lia Wiedemann
My building’s boiler broke on Christmas Eve. At first it wasn’t too bad—my apartment is usually too hot. But when it wasn’t fixed a few days later, around the same time a monster blizzard blew in, my whole family was freezing. To fight cabin fever, I turn to food. Warm meals that are easy to make always cheer me up.
My husband Daniel and I got a fondue pot for our wedding almost 10 years ago, and unlike those who let certain kitchen appliances sit around and collect dust, we used ours a lot. A fancy spin on bread and cheese, it was a fun and inexpensive way to entertain. Once we became parents, we planned dinner parties a lot less and slowly forgot about fondue. Eventually, the pot we once used all the time disappeared in a hard-to-reach cabinet.
During the blizzard, I decided to dig it out. Despite an arsenal of new toys, our son Nico was bouncing off the walls and cooking has a way of calming him down, at least for a little while. He’s always been drawn to foods he can dip and he loved the long forks that came with our set. He immediately claimed a green-colored one and started devouring the purple potatoes, toasted naan bread and granny smith apples we had cut up.
Now that we’ve dusted off our old pot, I can’t wait to use it again. Next up? Dark chocolate fondue. I got a couple bars for Christmas that would pair perfectly with bananas, strawberries, graham crackers and sugar cookies.
A holiday without heat wasn’t ideal. For a winter full of fondue, I guess it was worth it.
Authentic Swiss Fondue
1 large garlic clove, cut in half
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons kirsch or brandy
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7 ounces (200 g) shredded Gruyere cheese
7 ounces (200 g) shredded Emmental cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Rub the cut side of the garlic clove inside a fondue pot and discard. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pot and bring it to a boil on the stove over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Toss the Gruyere and Emmental cheeses in a bowl with the cornstarch. One handful at a time, stir the cheeses into the wine, mixing until the cheeses melt before adding more.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the fondue just comes to a simmer. Stir in the kirsch, and season with pepper.
If the fondue is too thin, add more cheese or stir in cornstarch dissolved in wine. If too thick, stir in a little warmed white wine.
To serve, transfer the pot to its stand on the table. Spear the bread cubes onto fondue forks and dunk into the cheese.
Lia Wiedemann is a writer who loves food and her two little boys. She leads Brooklyn food tours for new moms and shares favorite recipes and restaurants on her blog, This Little Piglet.