One of the rituals of a skiing holiday is to have at least one fondue, after all skiing is hard work and mountain air sharpens the appetite and makes it absolutely OK to consume half your body weight in melted cheese. We are probably not going skiing this year – but the start of the Winter Olympics does seem as good as excuse as any to have a fondue, and to celebrate the achievements and years of hard work of all the athletes competing.
Our fondue was prompted via a press release from cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield and the arrival of an orchard selection box from Sainsbury’s containing different varieties of 4 apples and 2 pears (throughout the season they stock up to 57 varieties of English apples and 10 varieties of pears). The fondue set was extracted from the back of the under sink cupboard, and a bottle of meths was bought from one of the less salubrious shops in the North End Road.
The fondue was made with Stilton melted into cider with cubes of Ed’s sourdough and pieces of apple and pear to dip. Although very rich, the fruit cut through the cheese nicely and the combination of this very English fondue was really rather good, and one to be repeated once per year, regardless of skiing or Olympics.
Recipe: English Stilton Fondue with Apples & Pears
- 1 clove Garlic (cut lengthwise)
- 200 ml Dry (still cider)
- 500 g Blue Stilton cut into small cubes
- 125 ml Creme Fraiche/Fromage blanc/Double cream
- 1 tbsp Cornflour (or plain flour is ok)
- 2 tblsp chopped Chives
- Rub the cut edge of the garlic clove around the inside of a heavy-based fondue pan to leave a fine coating.
- Discard the rest of the garlic, pour in the cider (but keep a couple of tablespoons back) and heat to a gentle simmer.
- In a small bowl mix together the reserved cider and the flour into a smooth paste.
- Gradually add the cheese to the pan, stirring as it melts into the cider. Do not let the mixture come to a boil as it will split into oil and solids.
- Once the cheese is all melted, add and stir in the flour paste, you should see the mixture thicken.
- Just before serving whisk in the Crème Fraiche and chives. Allow to warm back up and transfer to the table to serve over an oil or gel burner to keep it hot.
- Serve with cubes of bread, apples, & pears.
Recipe: Paxton & Whitfield.
Many thanks to Paxton & Whitfield for the recipe and Stilton, and Sainsbury’s for the Apples & Pears and shopping voucher for the remainder of the ingredients.