I love serving fondue for Valentine’s Day. It is the perfect meal to share. Fondue comes from the French term meaning “to melt”. My cheese and chocolate fondue recipes are so delicious they will melt your Valentine’s heart.
Swiss villagers invented this delicious dish in the 18th century. Snowed in during the freezing Swiss winters, they often couldn’t get fresh food. Instead, they survived on bread and cheese, which they made during the summer months and stockpiled. As cheese and bread age, they get hard and lose their flavor. The villagers found if they heated cheese over a fire, its taste improved, and their hard bread softened when dipped into the melted cheese. On cold winter nights, the villagers gathered around a fire to keep warm and shared their meal out of one single pot. Thus, fondue has always been a dish for sharing. Creamy, warm, and delicious, it is also the perfect food for feeding to one another.
Fondue has evolved over the years to include dessert. So, to finish your meal consider Chocolate Fondue. It’s super simple to prepare, and my chocolate fondue recipe is so delicious double dipping is required! If you plan to make both cheese and chocolate fondue, it is a good idea to use two fondue pots—one for each recipe. Then you don’t have to worry about washing pots between courses.
Setting the mood for a romantic evening is more than just the recipes you’ll serve. If your home has a fireplace, set a small table close by. You can cuddle up before a blazing fire just like the Swiss villagers did so long ago. Take a break from the ordinary and use your best linen, china, and crystal. Scatter the table with rose petals or decorate it with a small bowl of fresh flowers. And for the finishing touches—a centerpiece of candles and soft music will add a romantic ambience to the evening. But what makes eating fondue on Valentine’s Day fun is the long-standing tradition associated with it—whomever loses one of their dippers in the fondue pot, must kiss their Valentine.
Four Cheese Fondue Makes about 6 cups
Serve with dry white wine. 1 cup shredded fontina cheese 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese 1 cup grated Asiago cheese 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups chardonnay wine
1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese White pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, toss the fontina, Swiss, and Asiago cheeses lightly with flour. Pour chardonnay wine into the fondue pot and heat over a medium-low heat until hot. Add garlic and stir to combine. Add the cheese mixture, a handful at a time, stirring constantly, and waiting until each addition melts before adding the next. Add Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Season to taste with white pepper.
Assorted breads cut into bite-size pieces Cherry tomatoes Broccoli florets, raw or steamed Bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces Sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1-inch slices and fried until browned and cooked through Your favorite meatballs Steak, grilled to desired doneness and cut into 1-inch pieces Shrimp, roasted, sautéed, or grilled
Arrange dipping items on a serving tray. Cheese fondue is best when eaten with fondue forks.
Shopping tip: When purchasing semi-soft cheeses like fontina and Swiss, a 4-ounce block of cheese should yield 1 cup. When using hard cheeses like Parmesan and Asiago, 3 ounces should yield 1 cup.
Cooking tip: Heating fondue slowly ensures it will not become rubbery. If your fondue becomes too thick, increase the heat, add a little wine, and stir vigorously.
Cooking tip: A ceramic pot works best when making cheese fondue.
Chocolate Fondue Makes about 1 cup
If you don’t have a bottle of Amaretto on hand and are pinching pennies, you can pick up a 50 ml bottle at the liquor store for just a few dollars. ¾ cup heavy cream 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 to 2 tablespoon Amaretto In a heavy, non-reactive saucepan, place cream over a medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add chocolate and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, or until chocolate melts. Using a whisk, gently blend to a smooth consistency. Add Amaretto to taste and then gently blend again. Transfer to a fondue pot.
Serve with: Strawberries Banana slices Apple slices Pineapple chunks Angel food cake cut into bite-size pieces Pound cake cut into bite-size pieces
Arrange dipping items on a serving tray. Chocolate fondue is best when eaten with fondue forks. Tip for buying a fondue pot: If you don’t have a fondue pot and are considering purchasing one, look for an electric pot. They are very versatile, and some are even dishwasher safe. Electric fondue pots have their own heating element so you can set them at the desired temperature. This makes preparing fondue much easier. Often times fondue pots that require sterno or candles don’t get hot enough to cook many recipes.
Carol Ann Wilson
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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