by Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats
I stopped by my parent’s house the other day after work – they live about two minutes away from my husband and me – walked in the front door, and spied this avocado-colored antique perched on the kitchen table.
“Look what I found when I was cleaning out the cupboards today!” my mom exclaimed, beside herself with excitement. “My old fondue pot! Couldn’t you just?!”
She began reminiscing about the fabulous fondue parties she and her friends used to throw in the late 70s and early 80s. Someone would bring a pot of chocolate for dipping graham crackers or pineapple as dessert, another pot of oil to quickly sear shrimp or steak, and at least one person could always be counted on to bring a big pot of melted cheese for dipping veggies, bread and anything else! What doesn’t taste good dipped in melted cheese?
Thirty years later it’s still fulfilling its purpose and my husband and I decided to use it the very next night and throw a cheese fondue party for two – the perfect date night meal to make at home and a hit on Valentine’s Day.
There are many cheese fondue recipes out there, most use Gruyère for a super smooth, classic fondue, but I went another route and made a Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Fondue!
I began making the fondue by rubbing the inside of the pot with a clove of garlic. It subtly seasoned the fondue without adding a super strong garlic flavor.
Then I turned my attention to the cheese. Only the best – Wisconsin Cheddar!
I grated up four ounces each of mild and sharp Cheddar, and then tossed it with a tablespoon of flour so the cheese would melt smoothly, without clumping together.
The base for the cheese was a half of a cup of lager beer. It’s been decades since the fondue pot was last used, but the electric base still worked like a charm and took the beer from chilled to boiling in less than a minute!
Next I added the cheese to the hot lager in batches, stirring well and making sure the cheese was fully melted before adding the next batch. It didn’t take long to get everything smooth – about five minutes. The final step was seasoning – salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Just a pinch and a dash of all!
When all was said and done, I set the heat to low, transferred the pot over to the table and got out the dunkers.
Let’s talk about these dunkers! We had Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Wine & Cheese Chicken Sausage, a French baguette, sliced apples, diced pretzel bread, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower in the center.
I’ve got to tell you – this cheese, the fondue! It clung to the broccoli, cascaded over the baguette, and made the pretzel bread sing!
Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Fondue
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup lager beer
4 oz Wisconsin Mild Cheddar Cheese
4 oz Wisconsin Sharp White-Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon flour
Salt & pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a fondue pot or heavy-bottomed saucepan with it. Discard. Over high heat, add the beer to the pot and bring it to a boil.
Turn the heat down to medium low, toss the cheese with the flour in a separate bowl, then gradually add it into the pot in batches, stirring well and fully melting each batch before adding the next.
When all the cheese has melted, add in dashes of salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, to taste. Serve warm with bread, pretzel bread, steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower, apples or sausage.