Sunday, December 16, 2007

ECG's Cheese

What's the perfect way to follow a difficult game of strategy and intrigue?


Easy. ECG's fondue game.


Classic Fondue

You will need:
1 garlic clove
1 cup Alsatian Gew├╝rztraminer
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces of grated Gruyere cheese
8 ounces of grated Emmentaler cheese
4 ounces of grated Appenzeller cheese
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 shot of kirsch
ground pepper to taste

To make the fondue:
Peel the garlic clove and cut it in half. Rub the inside of your cast iron fondue pot, or other heavy-bottomed saucepan with the cut side of the clove the discard the clove or use it for another purpose. Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pot and bring to a mild simmer. (At no time should you boil the ingredients--they should bubble slightly but never vigorously.)

In a large bowl, toss the grated cheese with the cornstarch. Dump a handful of cheese at a time into the simmering wine, stirring each batch until it is almost completely melted before adding another. Once all the cheese is added, stir in the kirsch and freshly ground pepper.

Transfer the fondue pot to its stand over its burner, or pour the fondue into a fondue pot over a burner. Serve with good bread, wine and beer, a zippy salad, and good company.

To play the game:
When someone drops his or her bread into the cheese, that person must share an embarrassing episode of his or her life. I guarantee that some of these stories will be cheesier than what you're eating.

Laugh. It's all fun and games when there's fondue to be had.

18 comments:

Lucy said...

Can you believe that I just bought a fondue set for my brother as his Christmas gift? This couldn't be better-timed!

Lovely chess (I assume) pieces - love their masked faces.

Sarah said...

I think the traditional Swiss thing do do if you drop your bread in the fondue pot is to kiss everyone at the table. I think I like that better! Some stories are better left untold.. :)

Wendy said...

Yum yum. I have a lovely fondue set that I never use. That may change soon...
I'm terrible at chess. I get really stressed out and grumpy and then I give up. How do you keep calm with all those choices?

Christina said...

Lucy: It's not chess. It's a game called Inkognito--the setting of the game is Venice during Carnival, and each player has to figure out the secret identities of the other players and complete a spy mission. It's quite fun and a beautifully designed game. I hope you and your brother enjoy the fondue--what a great present to give!

Sarah: The story tradition comes from Emilio's family and that's where I've learned it. I think traditions vary with different families and origins. Kissing everyone at the table could be lots of fun too--maybe we'll have to try that next time 'round.

Wendy: Use it. It's remarkably easy and very good, especially the browned crust of cheese at the bottom of the pot. Oh, I love that part! I'm not good at chess either, but this wasn't chess. It was Inkognito--a different strategy game. I can only play it before dinner and wine, because afterwards, I'm certainly not up for all the strategic choices.

rowena said...

Absolutely love it! (the kissing or tell-all part too!!).

We did a fondue vigneronne over the weekend and boy do I love this style of dining and entertaining. People seem to be able to put it away more, sticking another cube of beef or bread into the pot "just one more time." Eh, or so they say... ;-)

Happy Holidays!

Susan said...

I thought chess, too. This, however, is more intriguing, literally. Wonder if I can find Inkognito b/4 Xmas (wish me luck!) - my husband (and I) would really eat it up...and that simmering pot of four outstanding Alpine cheeses. I haven't thought of fondue is ages.

Patricia Scarpin said...

My husband and I love cheese fondue - we have it every Friday during the winter.
Yours looks decadently delicious!

Christina said...

Rowena: I know, I can't get enough of it either. It's easy, interactive, and such a great way to converse and eat at the same time. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Susan: I hope that you find Inkognito. It's quite fun, but it takes a while to learn the rules. It's a great dinner party game when you have one other couple over.

Patricia: ECG is Argentinean, but spent his childhood in Brazil (where you live, if I remember correctly). In both countries, he ate lots and lots of fondue, and it is his childhood familiarity with it that makes him so good at preparing it now. Every Friday, huh? That sounds like a tradition that ECG and I could easily pick up.

Shaun said...

Christina ~ I have never had fondue. Ever. I have always wanted to, though. I like the idea of a communal pot, and one can never go wrong with that much cheese. The recipe seems rather traditionally Swiss, down to the wine and types of cheeses. Good on you for being inspired by tradition.

It must be nice to have the fondue now. Eric tells me it is quite cold these days.

ann said...

Hmmm... fondue... I haven't had fondue since I was in the single digits. That just might be the thing for New Year's Eve dinner.
I love this game, sounds like a kinder, gentler version of Risk mixed with Clue

Wendy said...

Just looked up the rules for Inkognito and I totally don't get it! It's stressing me out more than chess and I'm not even playing! Maybe it's one of those games you have to play to understand. Like Rummykub. :)

Christina said...

Shaun: If you like bread and cheese (and apple and broccoli and whatever else you feel like dipping), you'll like fondue. This is a very traditional recipe, but it is the way I like it best. I've had ones that are straight Swiss or made with different wines, and they're good, but to me, this is the best. Maybe it is the way ECG makes it. He swears by stirring in a figure-eight fashion as he melts the cheese (could that really make that much of a difference?). The meal is nice with friends and wonderful on cold nights. When you and Eric get a chance to reunite on a lovely, chilly night, it can also be a romantic, celebratory meal.

Ann: It would make a great New Year's meal. I can state with whole-hearted confidence that it tastes great with champagne.

Wendy: It is one of those "play it to learn it" games. The rules seem overwhelming, but they make sense once you start playing. I've never played Rummykub--should I?

Wendy said...

Oh, yes! I'm taking it on holiday with me. It's fantastic. :)

Susan in Italy said...

Hey we're on the same page! We just had our annual fondue dinner for Gabriel's birthday last week. It's his Swiss tradition that you have to jump into Lake Geneva if your bread falls into the cheese. Tough, huh?

winedeb said...

Such a cool photo of the "players" Christina! And the fondue...creamy, cheesy...OK, I am off to the kitchen! Yum!
What a fun game! Spooky, but fun!

Maryann said...

Sounds like fun. Fondue is so 60's :)

Terry B said...

Christina--the only thing that's missing is shots. If you could figure out how to incorporate doing shots into the game, then you'd have something. Probably just more dropped bread and kisses, but hey, that's something.

Christina said...

Susan in Italy: Ooh, jumping in Lake Geneva sounds a tit bit nipply. Brrrr. Isn't it funny how many traditions there are?

Winedeb: I think you'll enjoy it!

Maryann: Just proof that good food transcends time. What was good in the 60s is just as good today . . ..

Terry: What a great suggestion! I'll have to try to work that in somehow . . ..