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Fondue in Vermont at Stowe Mountain Lodge

After I finished my four year culinary apprenticeship I knew I was not ready for the real world.  I decided to go to Europe and spend a year in Switzerland training with the best chefs I could find.  The time I spent abroad made me the culinarian I am today, and one of the things I loved most about Europe was the cheese.

The cheeses in Switzerland were amazing (only to be rivaled by Vermont cheeses!) One cheese dish that was a particular favorite of mine was fondue.  

In French, fondue means to “melt by slow cooking.” The word fondue has several other meanings, these meanings pertain to food cooked and served in a central “pot” on the table. 

Fondue au fromage is a classic dish of Swiss heritage consisting of gruyere cheese, white wine and a small amount of Kirsch (cherry infused liqueur).  Small, bite-sized chunks of bread are then be dipped into the cheese mixture.

Fondue Bourguignonne is a variation whereby cubes of beef or pork are cooked in a pot of hot oil or broth then dipped into an array of savory sauces. 

Another version is chocolate fondue. Chocolate fondue is made by cooking chocolate, cream and sometimes a liqueur together into which fruit, cake or cookies can then be dipped. 

I first tasted real Swiss Fondue au fromage on Christmas day, 1999 on the slopes of Mt. Titlis in Berne.  I was soon schooled on real fondue etiquette.  Traditions say that if a woman drops a piece of food into the pot, she has to kiss every man at the table. If a man drops a piece of food into the pot he has to provide the host with a bottle of wine. If the food is lost a second time, the first person to do so has to host the next fondue party. Needless to say I tried my hardest to be the only man at the fondue table, but I did end up buying my fair share of wine!  

With our new winter menu out at Solstice and Hourglass, I am thrilled to be sharing my love for fondue and alpine culture with our guests, and I hope you will have as much fun consuming our Fondue with freinds or family as we do preparing it!

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese and Harvest Riesling Fondue Recipe

1 cup Riesling

¾ cup grated Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese

2 tsp cornstarch

½ ea. clove garlic, minced

Dash kirsch                   

Salt and white pepper

Fruits, breads, pickles or other ingredients for dipping

Method:

In a medium size pot, bring the wine and garlic to a boil.  Toss the cheese and the cornstarch together and add to the boiling wine.  Stir constantly until well blended. Season the cheese mixture with salt, pepper and a shot of kirsch.  Transfer the cheese mixture to a fondue pot and serve with appropriate accompaniments. Enjoy! 

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