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29 February 2016

Getting Back to My Roots with Comte Fondue


'I don't like cheese.'
Said no-one, ever

When Megan (blogger at Got To Be Gourmet meets PR extraordinaire) from MBA asked me if I'd like to receive some Comte cheese to make a recipe for Mothers Day (#MothersDaytheComteWay, can I replace Mothers Day with any holiday, or just you know a Monday. Let's be honest it doesn't even need to be a Monday), I had to think for 0 seconds. In what has to be the quickest reply email I've ever sent, I played it cool and said sure why not. I totally played it cool. 100%. Like an iceberg. I can tell you I didn't reply and out myself as a 'big' cheese fan, or you know go down the whole I'm Swiss so give me the cheese route (why do the Swiss only get aggressive over cheese?), and I definitely did not follow up anxiously when I had yet to receive said cheese...two days after receiving Megan's initial email. So yeah I'm the picture of cool.

Assurance of me being cool aside, I really love cheese, it's a family weakness (at least on the maternal side, who knows about paternal, who cares? No one, moving on). Being French Swiss, my family is full of cheese lovers, my Grandmere's favourite is Comte, my mum's Gruyere, and I can't choose a fave (I'm like Brucey on Strictly Come Dancing, they're all my favourites). So every time we make fondue the fight goes down about what cheese we should use. It normally ends up being a combination of Gruyere and Emmental, Comte and Emmental, or a mix of all three (who's bringing the Emmental to the table, nobody knows) depending on who's cooking. But having spoken to my Grandmere only the night before about how much she misses Comte and having sampled how good the Comte was that Megan sent me (plus you know, Mothers Day, and my mothers certainly love fondue), I decided to make a Comte fondue all on it's lonesome (sorry Mum) and it was, in my boyfriend's words, the best fondue he's ever had. Which actually could be seen as kind of rude about my Grandmere and Mum's cooking, albeit one time my mum had a bit too much wine before making the fondue and used red wine instead (JUST NO), but you know what I'm not going to complain because it really was the best fondue I've had in ages. And I friggin made it. Me. The least Swiss person in my family of Swissanites.

No words can describe the amount of national pride I'm feeling right now.




 

 I received three maturities of Comte, 10 months (think mild and creamy, but so moreish), 18 months (still in the packet, waiting to be demolished) and 24 months (dense, nutty, sour flavour; good Lord it's the cheese form of crack!), but decided for this fondue I'd use a mix of the 10 and 24 months. For the smallest of moments I regretted putting this cheese into a fondue, but then I ate the fondue and all was forgiven. This cheese is made to be melted with wine, on it's own it has a real tangy sour flavour (in a 100% good way) but with the wine it's enhanced ten fold.
 
At my Grandmere's we always have fondue with boiled potatoes, a white baguette, and pickled onions and cornichons (she also puts kirsch in hers, I'm not a huge fan so I leave it out, try it with kirsch at your own peril). My mum serves it with cheesy bread (for extra cheesiness), salami, saucisson sec and olives. I like mine with garlic butter covered baby potatoes and mange tout, par-boiled carrots, Parma ham, olive bread and pickled walnuts (for the innuendo but also because they're delicious). If you're new to fondue, where have you been? But also go for the classic accompaniments of saucisson sec, garlicky potatoes and baguette, maybe some pickles for Granny's sake. Don't be afraid to dip anything, and I mean ANYTHING, into your fondue. I caught Dan dipping leftover steak in, I wasn't upset about it, just disappointed he didn't bother sharing any. So go wild, dip some marmite soldiers in, asparagus, maybe a cat (do not put cats in your fondue), all in the name of cheesy glory, oh and Mothers. It's all about the mothers.
 
On to the recipe!

 

 
Comte Fondue
(serves 4 or 1 Swiss person)
 
400g Comte, rind removed and grated
1 garlic glove
180ml white wine
1 tsp cornflour
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Black pepper

Step 1. Chop the garlic clove in half and rub the bottom and sides of a heavy based pan with it, till it smells like true love (I mean garlic).

Step 2. Place the pan on the hob and bring 150ml of the white wine to the boil. Reduce the head to a simmer and add the cheese a handful at the time stirring continuously in a figure of eight (Swiss tradition, you can just stir it normally if you're not Swiss) till melted before adding another handful of cheese until there's no cheese left.

Step 3. Once the cheese is all melted, mix the leftover 30ml of white wine with the cornflour and stir into the cheese with the lemon juice. Season with black pepper and serve immediately with garlicky potatoes, chunks of crusty bread, carrots, mange tout or Grandmere's trusty pickles. 

Step 4 (also know as the when eating the fondue step). When you dip in to coat your appointed dunking object with cheese, make sure to dip and swirl the cheese as you go to stop it setting. If the cheese does set and become less runny, chuck it back on the hob and let it melt down again on a low heat with a generous glug of white wine, give it a stir and resume dipping off the hob. Or on the hob, if you can't wait, actually you could just forgo making this as a family affair and eat it yourself, alone, at the hob with a family sized baguette for one.

Happy Mother's Day
 
 
Ok, so after last week's running disaster, I think my glamorous life as a track star has come to an end (or at least for this week). 2 miles into our run I tripped over a glass bottle that smashed and I fell on top of, taking the skin off my knees and legs. Luckily no large shards went into my cuts, and Dan was right in front of me with a bottle of water to wash out any flecks and strap me up with his t-shirt (my hero!). Obviously my knee jerk reaction was to cry but once I was over that omg the overwhelming stench of raw meat. Never have I wanted to be vegetarian more (hello more cheese recipes). The world is telling me not to run, even the pharmacist said this is why people shouldn't exercise. So seeing as I can barely stand up without tearing the skin on my knees open, I think running is off the cards till it heals (albeit I did go for a run on Sunday but the pain is real guys so it's a no go this week). In the mean time I need to keep my strength up with a combo of reading Harry Potter (for the gazillionth time), lying on the sofa and eating Nutella out of the jar. I call it the LIT work out (not to be confused with Louis Litt from Suits; don't get me started on Suits). Feel free to leave your hilarious exercise stories, monologues on times you've hurt yourself and cat videos below for me to peruse while LIT-ing (it's a thing). Also anyone taking part in #MothersDayTheComteWay drop me a link to your recipe below, this body needs more cheese.

And remember the moral of this story is do not exercise, healthcare professionals are telling you not to. And cheese calls all ails...did I not mention that?

Thanks to Megan from MBA and Comte for sending me a box of the finest French Comte around, eat Comte and know what I mean. All opinions are from yours truly! Want more information about Comte? Visit their website (link here).