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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fondue with Friends

fondue party

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon when five foodies congregated in the name of cheese: Deb, Bowb, friends and I. The skies were a gloomy grey, the rain pit-pattered rythmically against the windows and a winter-like chill hung in the air: it was the perfect setting for a bubbling lava of two cheeses (gruyere and emmenthal), a glug of dry white wine, a dash of sweet sherry and a spoonful of cornflour to help it thicken.

With fondue forks in hand, we had an extravaganza of choices for cheesy dipping:

dipping vegetables
Vegetables waiting for a fondue tan

Our vegetable dipping platter beheld blanched florets of cauliflower and spears of asparagus, sticks of carrot, button mushrooms, crunchy radishes, and quartered new potatoes boiled in their skin.

Bread cubes for dipping

There were cubes of walnut bread, and olive and rosemary loaf, and wedges of crisp shiny apple-all from Bowb-waiting patiently in the wings to be gloriously smothered in lashings of cheese.


To help cut through the richness of cheese, I brought along a pumpkin salad; the pumpkin was baked until it caramelised on the edges, its soft sweet pulp contrasting with crunchy asparagus spears, bright green sugar snap peas, peppery rocket, creamy chickpeas and topped with a scattering of toasted almond slivers.

pumpkin salad
Pumpkin, rocket and almond salad (made by me)

Deb's Finnish meatballs provided further distraction, plump juicy mounds of pork and beef mince that married perfectly with bright red dollops of sweet cranberry sauce.

Finnish meatballs (made by Deb)

And with the preliminary photoshoot over, the foodbloggers' cameras were temporarily retired to the sideboard.

Foodblogger tools

Dessert saw the unflourishing of the famed Gjestot brown cheese, a Nordic specialty that is a dairy enigma. It tastes of caramel, it tastes of cheese. It's sweet, it's salty, it confused me so.

Eating a paper-thin sliver on its own, the taste was rather strong and uninviting after three nervous mouthfuls. Its flavour was much more subdued and palatable when paired with bread.

 brown cheese
Gjetost brown cheese

The Gjetost's lingering tinge of sweetness led to ponderings of grilling potential, at which point a blowtorch was suddenly brandished "in the name of research".

brown cheese brulee
When foodbloggers get angry

Apparently it tasted better when caramelised.

turkish delight
Turkish delight in mint flavour or studded with walnuts

More sweet things from D in the form of almond macaroons: soft and chewy with a golden crust, and fat heavy cubes of Turkish Delight: flavoured with mint in the colour of lime green jelly, or lightly tinged with rosewater and studded with chunks of walnut.

strawberries in sour cream
Strawberries in light sour cream with brown sugar

And finally a dessert from S, a family recipe of light sour cream mixed with brown sugar which was generously spooned over slices of sweet strawberry. It tasted like a liquid cheesecake and yet was light, refreshing and summery too.

Food. Friends. Fondue. How could one ask for more?

Thanks to Deb for being the perfect fondue host.

fondue fork
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 9/12/2006 11:37:00 pm


  • At 9/13/2006 5:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, the things we will do in the name of cheese! Sounds like a truly delightful event (and I love the photo of torching the cheese!)

  • At 9/13/2006 8:33 am, Blogger Reb said…

    I love fondue! When I'm in Montreal there are fondue restaurants that never went out of style - you've hit the nail on the head with the weather - nothing better on a cold forbidding day or evening like melted cheese!

  • At 9/13/2006 8:42 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    how nice! i've never tried fondue with cheese before (didn't know what cheeses to use)though I can feel the cholesterol climbing a little =P

  • At 9/13/2006 9:12 am, Blogger Robyn said…

    You caramelized the...kind of already caramelized cheese? ;) That's great. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!

    Liquid cheesecake, holy crap! I'd try that. Sounds like you could make it into ...pseudo cheesecake ice cream.

  • At 9/13/2006 9:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you did great with the photos helen! the salad was so yummy! i'm glad everyone enjoyed the fondue - all that grating of the cheese made for perfect cheese lava.
    i would say its the easiest luncheon i've ever hosted with all such delicious contributions - thank you! :D

  • At 9/13/2006 10:11 am, Blogger Margie said…

    Strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar is a favourite of mine too, but in my family, we dip the strawberries in the sour cream first, then dip them into the sugar and then eat them whole. Arm num num!

  • At 9/13/2006 12:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I knew that pyromaniac hand looked familiar... Looks like you ladies had a lovely time.

  • At 9/13/2006 4:39 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Everything looks so good.

    Would it be wrong to dip cheese cubes in cheese fondue?

  • At 9/13/2006 4:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "when foodbloggers get angry" bwahahaha mmm caramelised cheese... i like philadelphia cream cheese + maple syrup with my strawberries...

  • At 9/13/2006 8:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i always wanted to try cheese fondues but havent found any places with it ...now im determined to make it myself!

    ive always gorged on chocolate fondues but having both will b heaven ^^

  • At 9/13/2006 8:31 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Mmmm Turkish Delight. Can you post a recipe for the Turkish Delight Helen, I wouldn't mind trying to make some.

    Great photos as usual, love the liquid cheesecake one the most.

  • At 9/14/2006 6:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That is some great looking fondue. thanks for the tips!
    ~The Scuba Skipper

  • At 10/05/2006 7:33 pm, Blogger Emma said…

    Thanks for your entry to DMBLGIT - have a look at the rest here.

    I really had to laugh at the cameras lined up on the sideboard - ha ha! Great meal, I woul dlove to try some of the brown cheese.

  • At 10/08/2006 7:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I'm so jealous of your blowtorch...I'm thinking it might be something I should add to my kitchen arsenal. Hmm...

    And the fondue looks fabulous! I haven't made it in a couple of years...you're giving me ideas...

    The Inadvertent Gardener


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