You’re stranded on a deserted island with only one item.  What do you choose?  Me? I’d bring cheese, either Humboldt Fog, Roaring 40’s Blue Cheese, or Berthaut, one of the stinkest cheeses on the planet.  I maybe on the unpractical side, but seriously, my last bite better be cheese!

I should have been born a mouse. I’ve been known to order a few meat and cheese plates for dinner (as my entrée), list cheese and salami on our weekly dinner menu, and eat an entire block for breakfast.  It’s a sick habit, but I just can’t stop myself!  If my doctor only knew, I’d be in for a lecture.

Cheese makes a few annual traditional appearances in our household  – for Christmas we order a special cheese from France, a spread of the best cheese for my birthday, and on the first snowfall we eat cheese fondue while watching Aspen Extreme.  So, you can image how thrilled I was when snow was on this week’s forecast.  And snow it did.  About one foot, making this cheese fondue extra special.

I’d never made this particular recipe before but thought I’d try it out.  I have to give the folks over at Bon Appétit a thumbs up for their genius idea of mixing the shredded cheese and cornstarch together before melting.  In years past, I had cornstarch bubbles in my fondue from adding the cornstarch after the cheese melted.  This time, there were no bubbles in sight.

I love the addition of hard apple cider instead of white wine.  The fondue still has a boozy taste from the brandy, but the cider adds in a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with apples.  We served ours with a whole bunch of vegetables and some sliced sausages.  There were two clear winners: radishes and a combo of apples and apple sausage.

Gruyere Cheese Fondue adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 3-4

You will need:
~ 1lb Gruyere cheese, grated
~ 2 tbsp corn starch
~ 1 cup flavorful hard apple cider (in you liquor store)
~ 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
~ 2 tbsp apple brandy or regular brandy

Fixings for Fondue:
(You can use whatever you’d like to dip but here is what we had)
~ 2 chorizo sausages, cooked
~ 2 apple sausages, cooked
~ Granny Smith Apple
~ Radishes
~ Celery
~ Broccoli
~ Cauliflower

First, thoroughly mix the cheese and corn starch.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat cider and vinegar over medium to high heat until slightly simmering.  Keeping a gentle (very gentle) simmer start adding handfuls of cheese.  Once the cheese has melted continue adding handfuls until all of the cheese has been mixed in.

While keeping a constant stir, increase the heat until the cheese starts to bubble.  Turn down the heat and add brandy.  Transfer to a fondue pot, grab some wine, watch the snowfall and dig in!