I don’t know about you guys, but after the last few years of going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day I am SOLD on “Valentine’s-Night-In.” Don’t get me wrong … I love going out for dinner … but there are only a handful of restaurants that I really enjoy and between the service & lack of parking on that particular night — OY!
One of my favorite cozy & romantic “date-night-in” things to eat is fondue. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, why not add in a little bit of one of my other favorites — CHAMPAGNE!!!
I remember once that I was preparing a Martha Stewart recipe that called for red wine. One of Martha’s tips was to never use wine in a recipe that you wouldn’t otherwise drink. I have NEVER EVER forgotten this, and I think it has made a huge difference in the flavor of my food. In other words, don’t buy something super cheap to cook with just because you aren’t going to drink it. The flavor from the wine (and champagne in this case) will be infused into the food you are cooking. Makes sense, huh?
Let’s talk fondue pots… I personally use a stainless steel fondue pot, which I have been very happy with. It cleans up easy, and the cheese doesn’t stick as long as you don’t leave it unattended. You can also use one of the newer electric fondue sets (very practical!), a clay fondue pot or a ceramic one — totally up to you!
You’ll also need a heat source. Some say that you can use a candle to melt your cheese. I say, unless you want to wait until NEXT Valentine’s Day to eat, opt for fondue fuel. The gel-based ones work perfectly!!
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 clove garlic, halved
- 1 pound (16 ounces) Emmentaler cheese
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup extra dry champagne
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- freshly ground pepper
- bite-sized vegetables (I use baby carrots, broccoli, and red/yellow bell peppers)
- a nice, crusty baguette cut into cube-sized chunks
How to prepare:
- Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the cut surface of the garlic clove.
- Coarsely grate the two cheeses and add them to the pot.
- Add champagne, lemon juice, and cornstarch and stir over medium heat until cheese melts.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to keep the cheese from getting stringy.
- Stir in the pepper and cook a little longer, until the cheese is smooth and creamy.
Spear veggies or bread onto fondue forks and dunk them into the cheese. Allow the fondue to continue to simmer during the entire meal.
Pour yourselves a glass of champagne and enjoy your delicious date-night-in!! Cheers!