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There's something about the cold weather that makes you crave cheese. The melted kind, that is. And there's nothing better in winter than to get together with friends and family over a steaming, bubbling pot of cheese fondue!
As a Francophile, I have opted for the traditional 'Fondue Savoyarde' – The Savoyard Fondue is a dish made from melted-cheese, and its origins lay in the Savoie region of France.
This fondue is made using local cheeses like the Comté, Beaufort, Gruyère or Emmental from Savoie, and traditionally accompanied by bread. Nowadays, vegetables, pickles and fruits are also added to the list of sides to help add a fresh taste and lighten the meal, and this is also what I have served with my fondue. Anything that is easy to dip, break into morsels and tastes great with cheese, is a winner. Some people like to serve a fondue accompanied by cured meats, but this is the traditional French accompaniment to a Raclette - an entirely different cheese dish. Besides, cured meats + cheese tends to be too heavy as a combination, and not so great for digestion.
Fondue was very popular in the 60s, and so for the table setting I wanted to incorporate fresh elements to give the theme an updated look. The use of a large wooden board in the center of the table keeps things casual, and allows you to also keep a little of the rustic French look. The wooden board acts as a centerpiece covered with edible delights, and provides enough color and textures to keep things interesting – So no need for flowers! As place-mats I used brown parchment paper straight from my kitchen. It's inexpensive, disposable and fits perfectly with the casual styling. White plates, glassware and fondue forks are all that's needed to complete each place-setting. And the white wine served at the table is the same used to make the fondue with.
I always like to send my guests home with a little reminder of the party, and in this case I made some Fig Jam (recipe here) and decanted into cute jars. Each jar is topped with a printable name tag and so they double as place-cards too! French 'Fondue Savoyarde' Recipe Ingredients: * 200 g of grated cheese per person : 1/3 Beaufort, 1/3 Comté et 1/3 Emmental. * 300 ml of white wine per each 1 kg of cheese * 1 peeled garlic clove * 1 teaspoon of corn starch (optional) * Nutmeg to taste Directions: 1) Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the all around the inside of a heat-proof casserole or fondue pot. Leave the remaining garlic piece inside the pot for a stronger flavor. 2) Add the wine and bring to a boil over a medium heat. 3) Slowly add the grated cheeses to the wine, mixing with a wooden spoon until all melted. It takes a while, but keep stirring until it is all homogeneous. 4) Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Serve at once. TIP: If your fondue still has a little liquid on the side, you can thicken it by dissolving a teaspoon of cornstarch into a little water and add the thin paste formed to the fondue. Stir to bring the cheeses together and get a smoother texture. Dip bread, vegetables, fruit and anything else you like into the fondue. But be careful not to drop a piece inside the fondue pot when dipping – According to tradition, those who do, have to carry out a forfeit!
GigMasters Editor's Note: Want to pair entertainment with you wine and cheese? How about a jazz quartet or trio or a classical trio? A small group like this can be surprisingly affordable and add an unforgettable air to your party. Styling and photography: Bird's Party