This is sponsored content from Sargento Foods.
The opinions stated are my own.
Confessions of a date night fondue junkie.
A few years ago, Bjork offered to make me dinner for a nice date night. Like, let me think for three seconds YES PLEASE, bae.
Please don’t think any less of me right now, but you should know that Bjork does most of the other true work around our house. He is just generally on his A-game with life. All-around. All the time. One of those 5-star people that you adore and couldn’t live without and just if they could just stop making you look so basic for a second, that would be great. That being said, I think I can count on one hand the number of times he has made dinner in the 7 years that we’ve been married. It’s the one thing he doesn’t do.
On this stay-at-home date night, he went out and bought the brand new snazzy fondue pot, looked up a cheese fondue recipe, and started on his fondue adventure all on his own, with me sitting on the other side of the counter, probably sipping a glass of wine, watching with a careful slash critical slash remember-to-try-not-to-be-overbearing eye.
Things started well.
Imagine music, laughter, maybe a candle. Cheese was being shredded, bread was being cut, smashed garlic was being rubbed into the sides the fondue pot (this is a magic genius trick for fondue BTW). It was the start of date night greatness.
But somewhere between the transfer of the fondue to the pot, and the actual reality of both of us having NO IDEA how to safely heat a fondue pot whatsoever, we ended up with a) boiling hot water sloshing all over the table, and b) a hard clump of non-dippable cheese in the pot. Still delicious, naturally. But solid like a wheel of cheese.
So maybe I shouldn’t be trying to sell you on fondue?
No, never. Because guys, here’s the thing about fondue.
Once you get it, you’ve got it. And it’s perfect for date night because it’s a simple, slow, romantic way to eat a meal. Kind of like when you make apps and snacks and bits from the fridge into your entire meal, which we do on the reg. We’re Dating Goals over here, I know.
Here’s how I recommend approaching a cheese fondue date night:
- One person is in charge of prepping the dippers. This includes cutting bread and apples, and blanching or roasting more substantial veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, or potatoes. This is more to think about, but also more straightforward.
- The other person is in charge of prepping the cheese fondue. This would, in theory, be the easier job, and can be if you’re pretty comfortable with the process, but even though it only has three ingredients, fondue can actually be a little tricky as I learned after our failed attempt with date night fondue: round one. You need to stay dedicated and attentive and coddle that fondue so as not to end up with a stretchy, lumpy cheese curd situation. Here are some tips for success.
Use Swiss cheese!
I used Sargento Sliced Swiss Natural Cheese, because EASY and accessible anywhere, anytime. And then look what I did:
Yes, that is cheese that’s been run through my food processor. Don’t mind if I do.
When it comes time to melt, work slowly, sloooooowly, and gently… that’s it. Yes. You were panicking for a second (happens to me every time) but then you hit the moment where it all just comes together. No blobs around here.
Final tip: juuuuuust add a little more wine. I’m currently feeding myself and the baby in there, so I am cooling it in the wine department, but for those of you who aren’t – another splash could never be a bad thing.
Date night, holiday party, Tuesday pre-TV snack sesh? any of them work, actually.
Cheese fondue is just our awesome BFF like that.
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 8-ounce packages Sargento Sliced Swiss Natural Cheese
- salt to taste
- foods to dip – apple slices, bread cubes, roasted broccoli, etc.
- Whisk ½ cup of the white wine with the cornstarch.
- Run the cheese through a food processor or chop very, very finely to get small, even pieces.
- Rub the garlic clove all over the bottom and sides of a heavy-bottomed pot (this avoids garlic chunks in your smooth fondue). Discard the garlic. Heat the wine mixture over medium low heat, until thickening and bubbling. Add a tablespoon of wine if it seems too thick – you want it to resemble a smooth gravy.
- Add some of the cheese and slowly whisk. It should start to gently melt after just a few whisks around in the wine. When it’s almost completely smooth and incorporated, add more cheese and whisk gently. If it seems too tight or elasticy, add 1 tablespoon wine. Repeat this process until all cheese is melted. Consistency should be a smooth, loose sauce that has just a *little* bit of elastic stretch to it. You should be able to to dip something in it and have the cheese stick to your dipper.
- Season with salt and face plant immediately! I mean, serve immediately. As it cools, the cheese will want to clump together but if you keep it at a nice, low, even heat, it should stay dippable for ya.
Heat is very important – too low and it won’t melt properly, and too high and it will clump together into chunks. The high heat was my issue more often than not, so I’d recommend keeping your heat low, especially if you have a high powered gas range like we do.
If you’d rather not use wine, use chicken broth and make sure to use some lemon juice as well – the acidity is important.
I found these links helpful when learning about cheese fondue awesomeness:
Big s/o to Sargento for sponsoring this post! We heart real cheese.