Brian's Photo Blog — Article 684
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Cheese Fondue For One, Two Times
Tuesday 26 September 2017   —   Category: Cooking & Food
Having been married to a Swiss wife for over a quarter of a century, I have eaten a lot of cheese fondue over the years. Usually we make a moitié – moitié Fon­due Suisse (follow the cheese fondue link above) made with equal portions of authentic Swiss Gruyère cheese and Trader Joe’s Fontina cheese (in place of the traditional Vacherin Fribourgeois which is not readily available in the U.S.). The rest of the ingredients are diced garlic, white wine, and a bit of corn starch dissolved in a small amount of kirsch.
While my wife and daughter spent summer 2016 in Switzerland, I twice experimented with new cheese fondue recipes. Because our family-​sized caquelon is way too big for a single serving of fondue, I also experimented with some different equipment.

To support the fondue pot and to safely contain the heat source, I used the amazing and versatile 5" Folding Firebox Stove (first generation ... the current version is gen2). During the few years I had owned it I had tested it but never really used it to cook food, so this was a great opportunity to try it out.

The photo to the right shows the stove set up in my kitchen. It is practically impossible to appreciate the capabilities of this stove from only a picture, so be sure to watch one of their dem­on­stra­tion videos — you’ll be astonished!

If I used it frequently I would probably upgrade to the new mod­el, but the first version is good enough for my needs. I primarily bought it as part of my emergency preparedness.
As you learned in that video, this stove can be used with a variety of heat sourc­es. For the fondue, I used the optional Trangia Spirit Burner which I had pur­chased with the stove. This device uses the same fuel as the burner that came with our fondue set: denatured alcohol.

In this photo you can see the blue flame of the burning alcohol in the burner. I put it at the bottom of the stove because the pot I was using was hanging down into the stove, as you will see in the next picture.
In a couple of past articles I have written about one of my favorite pieces of kitch­en equipment, which I use frequently: a 15-ounce cast-iron melting pot.

It was the perfect size for “fondue for one,” and it was also the perfect size for the Firebox stove, into which it fit snug­ly, as if they were made for each other.

For this experimental batch I used equal portions of two of my favorite cheeses (both of them are modern creations from the 1990s): Dubliner and P’tit Basque. The rest of the ingredients remained the same.

Because I was using a camping / hiking stove to keep the fondue hot, I decided to use my companion Ozark Trail Hobo Tool instead of our usual eating utensils.

After cutting into cubes some decent white bread, it was time to dip and chew, dip and chew. This fondue was OK, but not as good as I had expected con­sid­er­ing how much I like these two cheeses. In the end, I think the more traditional Swiss fondue described above is better.

The following month I used the same equipment to try another fondue recipe, inspired by a similar dish I had at Mc­Men­a­mins.

This time around I used only one type of cheese which is one of my favorites: Til­lamook sharp cheddar. Instead of wine I used Bayern Pilsner beer, McMenamins Billy Whiskey in place of kirsch, and instead of diced garlic, fine-​ground black pepper.
Like the McMenamins version, I dipped homemade pretzel sticks instead of reg­u­lar bread.

This second “fondue for one” was pretty good, but not as tasty as I had expected considering how much I like this cheese, beer and whiskey. Once again, I think the more traditional Swiss fondue is the win­ning recipe.

The best 8 photos from these two meals have been added to the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2016 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 684
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