Celebrate V-Day with cheese, chocolate, and cheer
Love is in the air (and snowflakes if we’re lucky). Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to melt cheese and chocolate as well as hearts.
Many couples celebrate with a night out—a romantic dinner and a little bubbly. A night in, sitting around a warm pot of cheese and/or chocolate and dipping bread cubes, apples and strawberries, might be just what the love doctor ordered.
Fondue must be served with crusty bread, and the cheese must be thick enough to engulf an entire bread cube. Here are a few other rules:
First: No salads; cured meats, however, are acceptable.
Second: The wine or alcohol used in the fondue recipe should never impart a lasting impression; leave that to the evening and gastronomic experience.
Third: The Swiss (who know better as fondue is Switzerland’s national dish) only serve white wine or tea with fondue. They believe these two drinks pair most appropriately with such a meal and also aid in the digestion of the cheese.
Fourth: The Swiss strictly adhere to this: If you lose your bread in the pot, you’re on the hook for buying a round of drinks. I like this rule, but they should have one that covers double dipping, too!
The Cook Pots
There are generally three traditional types of fondue pots: cheese pot, a wide brimmed pot able to withstand high heat; chocolate fondue pot, which is used to dip a variety of fruits in, has a smaller opening, and isn’t as deep requiring less heat; and hot oil pot, which is typically taller and has a smaller opening to help avoid spattering. I have used the various types of pots, and for my money I recommend electric pots. You can easily control the temperature, and they are versatile for all three styles of cooking and easy to clean.
The Right Wines
The Swiss have already narrowed down the wine selection, at least to the color: white. Aromatic wines are perfumed with hints of tropical and exotic fruits and/or cast an alluring floral aroma. Well-made aromatic wine varietals such as Riesling and Viognier are neither too fragrant nor too sweet; rather, they are perfectly harmonious wines in which the aromas and flavors come together like a well-rehearsed orchestra.
Champagne and sparkling wine go beautifully with fondue. The former can be quite expensive. Sparkling wine, on the other hand, can be just as good and offers great value. The Italian sparkling wine Prosecco brings together the best of the bubbly and aromatics.