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mascarpone

Fondue Supplies for Idiots

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Today I just had the idiodic idea of making cheese fondue for a small holiday pot-luck on Saturday with some neighbors (six people to be exact). So far I have purchasd cheese. Any suggestions on where to get a good deal on fondue pot (inexpensive), hirsch and heaters. As I have never done this before, I would appreciate all suggestions (including tips on recipe).

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Since we are all too overwhelmed this holidays with crap and whatnot, it was decided literally this very morning, that a small gathering would take place at my house on XMas eve with me serving fondue and foie gras terrine.

I picked up a nice blue enamel fondue pot at Target for about $15.00.

The German wines I bought to accompany the gathering put me back over a $100... :wacko:

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. . . Any suggestions on where to get a good deal on fondue pot (inexpensive), hirsch and heaters. As I have never done this before, I would appreciate all suggestions (including tips on recipe).

Other have taken care nicely of the pot problem; and places that sell the pots probably sell fuel.

But, um, you do mean Kirsch, right? Just about any good liquor store should have some. AKA Kirschwasser. Cherry brandy.

There are many variations of fondue, as you are probably aware. But basically, you shred the cheese and toss it with a little flour or cornstarch. Rub the inside of the pot with a garlic clove. Heat some wine to bubbling in the fondue pot. Add the cheese, a cup or so at a time, stirring gently (in only one direction, says one of my cheese books). When all the cheese has been incorporated, season with salt if necessary, and plenty of freshly ground pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg. Finally add a splash of kirsch.

Or you can make it in a saucepan on the stove, and pour it into the fondue pot.

What cheese did you buy?

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I haven't make fondue in well . . . , let's just say some of you weren't born yet the last time we made fondue. From what I remember, the recipe we used to use called for equal amounts of Swiss gruyere or French compté and emmenthaler cheeses melted into white wine. A Swiss or Jura wine would probably be most traditional, but I seem to recall that we used Alsatian wines and most often a blend, or a traminer, which interesting as no one in Alsace seems to bottle traminer, it's all labled gewurtztraminer now and it's more expensive. In those days it didn't command the price of a riesling. Go light on the kirsch. I assume hirsch is a typo. We never used a binder although it was tricky to get the fondue not to separate, or to come together in the first place.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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You can probably find what you need at Zabar's, Gracious Home, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Broadway Panhandler.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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. . . Any suggestions on where to get a good deal on fondue pot (inexpensive), hirsch and heaters. As I have never done this before, I would appreciate all suggestions (including tips on recipe).

Other have taken care nicely of the pot problem; and places that sell the pots probably sell fuel.

But, um, you do mean Kirsch, right? Just about any good liquor store should have some. AKA Kirschwasser. Cherry brandy.

There are many variations of fondue, as you are probably aware. But basically, you shred the cheese and toss it with a little flour or cornstarch. Rub the inside of the pot with a garlic clove. Heat some wine to bubbling in the fondue pot. Add the cheese, a cup or so at a time, stirring gently (in only one direction, says one of my cheese books). When all the cheese has been incorporated, season with salt if necessary, and plenty of freshly ground pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg. Finally add a splash of kirsch.

Or you can make it in a saucepan on the stove, and pour it into the fondue pot.

What cheese did you buy?

The idea to do a fondue popped into my head as I was at Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleecker in the West Village after I had picked up some Speck nextdoor at Faicco's Pork Store at 260 Bleecker. The nice lady who served me told me to get (what I thought she said was) Hirsch which I found at a liqour store near the Port Authority (Hirsch 2003 Gruner Veltliner Kamptal Austria--it looks like a cheap white wine). I got Cave Aged Swiss gruyere and emmenthaler cheeses at Murray's for the fondue. The lady also told me to use cornstarch but to follow a recipe (I guess I looked like the type who did alot of fraternity cooking experiments in college).

Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone. I will let you know how it turns out.

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I got Cave Aged Swiss gruyere and emmenthaler cheeses at Murray's for the fondue. The lady also told me to use cornstarch but to follow a recipe (I guess I looked like the type who did alot of fraternity cooking experiments in college).

I'm also using Gruyere and Emmenthaler and every recipe I looked at had cornstarch (I also haven't made fondue in... well.... I think Bux and I might be tied there!).

I think the idea of some cornstarch makes sense when you think that a ton of melted cheese has a tendancy towards being oily. I don't know if McGee covers it or not, but I have a feeling that the cornstarch keeps the Grand Meltedness cohesive, instead of separating.

To accompany our fondue, I've got a Dr. F. Weins-Prum '03 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese ($23.99) and an 03 Carl Loewen Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Kabinett ($16.99). Okay, it was the addition of a Processo and a Loring Pinot that put my wine tab so high... :shock:

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"Rub the inside of the pot with a garlic clove" ???

Aw, hell no! That's from a recipe from a distant time! Cut up several cloves and toss 'em into the cheese! :raz:

I also like to add lots of freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper.

Sounds like a fun gathering!


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Kirsch is the traditional additive to fondue and it is as Suzanne says a cherry brandy, but not to be confused with the cheery liquers sometimes referred to as cherry brandy or the cherry flavored brandies. Kirsch is a proper white eau-de-vie.

Hirsch is a label I recall seeing on an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Hirsch is a proprietor and not a type of wine. It wouldn't have been what the woman said, in my opinion, but no harm done. My recollection was that it was decent enough for an inexpensive wine. It would probably do for the fondue or it's accompaniment, albeit a less traditional wine. We're talking Swiss/French dish, not Austrian. I suppose it all depends on what you're used to drinking as to how good it might be.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Kirsch is the traditional additive to fondue and it is as Suzanne says a cherry brandy, but not to be confused with the cheery liquers sometimes referred to as cherry brandy or the cherry flavored brandies. Kirsch is a proper white eau-de-vie.

Hirsch is a label I recall seeing on an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Hirsch is a proprietor and not a type of wine. It wouldn't have been what the woman said, in my opinion, but no harm done. My recollection was that it was decent enough for an inexpensive wine. It would probably do for the fondue or it's accompaniment, albeit a less traditional wine. We're talking Swiss/French dish, not Austrian. I suppose it all depends on what you're used to drinking as to how good it might be.

Thanks, Bux, for your information. The Fondue turned out well enough. All the neigbors were impressed. In the end, I used a dry Petit Bourgeois 2003 Sauvignon Blanc in place of the Swiss wine mentioned in the recipe. The wine salesperson at 67 Wines said it would work for the Fondue and wouldn't set me back as much as Swiss wines (which he incidentally said were generally overpriced). I also added Kirschwasser instead of Hirsch. Personally, I thought I added to much freshly ground Nutmeg but nobody else mentioned or even commented, "Oh I love the Nutmeg in the Fondue". Overall, with the suggestions and help, thanks to Bux, Gifted Gourmet, Carolyn Tillie, Suzanne F, bloviatrix, Susan G (I threw the whole garlic clove in!!!), making Fondue was not difficult and acutally went very smoothly.

As for the Hirsch, it was a contrast to the Cream Sherry that was served earlier in the party. This is a very inexpensive sparkling white wine that has an absurd picture of a deer sticking its tongue out as if it were saying, "Nah-Nahnie-boo-boo... you mistakenly bought Hirsch instead of buying Kirsch". I didn't have any positive nor negative reactions, to the Hirsch probably as I had a glass later in the evening after consuming several other alchoholic berverages. So I refrain from commenting on the Hirsch due to prior intoxication. :biggrin:


Edited by mascarpone (log)

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Mascarpone, I was curious how your's came out. I followed the recipe in The Joy of Cooking using two cups of Gundlach Bundschu's Alsatian-style Gewurtztraminer as the base wine plus the three tablespoons of Kirshwasser. I completely forgot the nutmeg but did paste up four cloves of garlic for my fondue!

Thinking that I wanted to serve something besides bread for dipping, I cooked up some tiny potatoes which I had pan-sauteed in a bit of duck fat for extra flavor. What surprised, however, was that the bread worked so much better for a reason I would have never anticipated: While the melted cheese merely adhered to both bread and potatoes, the underlying WINE in the recipe was immediately soaked up by the bread. The potatoes didn't have that ability and I marveled at just how lovely that juicy, winey bread really was with the cheese taste coming at the finish.

For cheese, I used equal amounts of Ementhaler, Gruyere, and Comte.

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Mascarpone, I was curious how your's came out. I followed the recipe in The Joy of Cooking using two cups of Gundlach Bundschu's Alsatian-style Gewurtztraminer as the base wine plus the three tablespoons of Kirshwasser. I completely forgot the nutmeg but did paste up four cloves of garlic for my fondue!

Thinking that I wanted to serve something besides bread for dipping, I cooked up some tiny potatoes which I had pan-sauteed in a bit of duck fat for extra flavor. What surprised, however, was that the bread worked so much better for a reason I would have never anticipated: While the melted cheese merely adhered to both bread and potatoes, the underlying WINE in the recipe was immediately soaked up by the bread. The potatoes didn't have that ability and I marveled at just how lovely that juicy, winey bread really was with the cheese taste coming at the finish.

For cheese, I used equal amounts of Ementhaler, Gruyere, and Comte.

Interesting, how did the base wine perform? How would you describe its taste? I only used bread. Did you rub the garlic on the sauce pan or did you throw them into the mix? How did your guests react ? How did the other wines taste?

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Funny you should ask... I opened the Carl Loewen Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Kabinett to use as the cooking wine but was so taken with just how lovely it was, I didn't want a third of the bottle gone! I also didn't want the acidity of a SauvBlanc or the oakiness of a Chardonnay and was glad I had a bunch of GunBun sitting around. Because it is Alsatian-style (low residual sugar - less than .5), I think it was PERFECT. But to drink WITH the fondue, it was a bit too acidic while the Riesling Kabinett had that perfect amount of sweetness to accentuate the fondue.

I never got around to opening the Prum, but did open the Prosecco which was nice, but after the sweetness of the Loewen, seemed wanting and sharp. I also wished I had chilled down a Caymus Conundrum which is a favorite of mine with melty cheese... :wub:

My 'guests' were my sister and bro-in-law. They are lovely people, but philistines when it comes to wine (my bro-in-law has been known to put an ice cube in a glass of Margaux... :angry: ). They really liked the Loewen BECAUSE it was sweeter.

I didn't rub the garlic in the pan -- I mortar-and-pestled it into a paste and briefly sauteed it before adding the wine. Because we were waiting for Shawn to get home from work, the garlic infused in the wine for a good hour before I added the cheese. I don't think the nutmeg was missed in that respect.

Mascarpone, did you notice the taste of your wine in the fondue? It really surprised me how much I did and in those debates about using a cheap wine in cooking, I would not hesitate to use a better wine in a dish like this. With so few ingredients and the amount of wine being used (in my case, a full two cups), I think a good wine is essential.

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Funny you should ask... I opened the Carl Loewen Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Kabinett to use as the cooking wine but was so taken with just how lovely it was, I didn't want a third of the bottle gone! I also didn't want the acidity of a SauvBlanc or the oakiness of a Chardonnay and was glad I had a bunch of GunBun sitting around. Because it is Alsatian-style (low residual sugar - less than .5), I think it was PERFECT. But to drink WITH the fondue, it was a bit too acidic while the Riesling Kabinett had that perfect amount of sweetness to accentuate the fondue.

I never got around to opening the Prum, but did open the Prosecco which was nice, but after the sweetness of the Loewen, seemed wanting and sharp. I also wished I had chilled down a Caymus Conundrum which is a favorite of mine with melty cheese...  :wub:

My 'guests' were my sister and bro-in-law. They are lovely people, but philistines when it comes to wine (my bro-in-law has been known to put an ice cube in a glass of Margaux...  :angry: ). They really liked the Loewen BECAUSE it was sweeter.

I didn't rub the garlic in the pan -- I mortar-and-pestled it into a paste and briefly sauteed it before adding the wine. Because we were waiting for Shawn to get home from work, the garlic infused in the wine for a good hour before I added the cheese. I don't think the nutmeg was missed in that respect.

Mascarpone, did you notice the taste of your wine in the fondue? It really surprised me how much I did and in those debates about using a cheap wine in cooking, I would not hesitate to use a better wine in a dish like this. With so few ingredients and the amount of wine being used (in my case, a full two cups), I think a good wine is essential.

Thanks, Caroline for the facinating feedback. As a first timer at making fondue I appreciate it. I will definitely explore the wines you mentioned in future attempts. As it was my first try I thougt it prudent to use a less expensive wine in the event that something might go awry and then there would be wasted good wine and even more guilt. At any rate, the Sauv sure was a step up from the Hirsch! From earlier feedback it seems that next time I should try a Riesling or Alsatian vintage. Do you ever use any local labels for Fondue?


Edited by mascarpone (log)

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Thanks, Caroline for the facinating feedback. As a first timer at making fondue I appreciate it. I will definitely explore the wines you mentioned in future attempts. As it was my first try I thougt it prudent to use a less expensive wine in the event that something might go awry and then there would be wasted good wine and even more guilt. At any rate, the Sauv sure was a step up from the Hirsch! From earlier feedback it seems that next time I should try a Riesling or Alsatian vintage. Do you ever use any local labels for Fondue?

Gundlach Bundschu IS a local vintage for me (they are in Sonoma) -- and while they discontinued a Riesling several years ago, I think their Gewurtz was a great choice. Most of the local Rieslings that I know of tend to be considerably sweeter. I am on a huge exploration of German varietals in California (getting ready to write a story on them) and trying to find those that are more complex along the lines of the great Germans. I'd be really interested in anyone pointing me in the direction of any California wineries producing any GREAT German varietals!

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