Step away from the melted cheese. Would Miss Moore please step away, NOW, from the melted cheese. There should have been a tannoy. I needed a tannoy, or at least someone to remind me when to stop – or even just that stopping was an option. It had been years since I’d eaten fondue and I’d forgotten how completely delicious it is. Also how terrifyingly much cheese it is possible to eat when it’s melted.Two of us polished off all of this between us – and imagine sitting down to eat half a pound of cold cheese.You just wouldn’t, would you. That may be why I had to have a bit of a lie down on the floor of our rented National Trust cottage (happily it was clean) afterwards. It’s also why I recommend sharing it between four. As for the wine, well cheese fondue is the sort of thing you imagine eating on a cold night halfway up a mountain and it’s Alpine whites that I think of first.You want good acidity for refreshment, little or no oak, and a lithe, breezy taste. Something so fresh it feels like the sting of cold air that hits your face on a snowy ski lift. Picpoul will work. If you must drink sauvignon blanc make sure it’s a grassy one from the Loire or a clear one from Bordeaux as gooseberries and gruyère is an odd match. Gruner veltliner is good. As is savagnin, a white variety mainly from the Jura. Light reds can be a bracing combination, too – try marcillac or a simple beaujolais villages.
4 GOOD MATCHES:
Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais Marcillac 2012 France, 12.5% (£7.95, The Wine Society)
This is a light red with real tang made from a grape called fer servadou. Sang means blood in French and, true to its name, it does have a hint of iron.
Domaine Wachau Terraces GrunerVeltliner 2012 Austria, 13% (£9.99, Waitrose)
Gruner veltliner has a delicate flavour (think white pepper and citrus pith) and a light touch. watch out for this on promotion when it comes down to £7.99.
Langhe Arneis 2012 Italy, 13% (£12.99, M&S)
Arneis is the (little-known) grape from the north-west of Italy. This is all clean, clear lines, laser-like in their precision, with a tinge of aniseed and no oak.
Moncaro Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2012 Marche,Italy,12.5% (£5.59, Waitrose)
Italians are extremely good at crisp white numbers and this one’s a real star. Slightly herbaceous and very lucid.
Cheese fondue recipe
gruyère 200g, grated
emmenthal 200g, grated
white wine 175ml
garlic 1 clove, peeled
cornflour 2 tsp
kirsch 1 tbsp
radishes 1 small bunch, washed
carrots 2, peeled and cut into batons
white chicory 2, outer leaves separated, hearts cut into quarters
red pepper 1, seeded and cut into strips
soughdough 2 slices, toasted and cut into fingers
Put the grated cheese, wine and garlic in a bowl balanced over a saucepan full of boiling water to make a bain marie. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheese has completely melted into the wine. Season. Stir in the cornflour and kirsch. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, put on the table, or transfer to a warm serving dish, and serve with veg and bread for dipping.
PER SERVING: 446 kcals, protein 28.1g , carbs 4.3g, fat 31.5g, sat fat 19.7g, fibre 0.1g, salt 1.4g
This feature was published in March 2014
Photographs: Sam Stowell
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