I don’t often have time to attend events any more. I get some wonderful offers through the blog, but an insane workload, two children and a dog usually prevent me from getting out of the house. I had to make an exception for the Habitat Christmas Supper Club though – invitations like this one don’t come across very often! Habitat was one of the first stores I was introduced to as a college student – one of our assignments in my media course was to design the packaging for an (imaginary) Habitat film brand. Film as in 35mm – yes, I know how much this ages me… I have been a huge fan ever since, aspiring to the beautiful homeware in my salad days and eventually, years later, feeling grown up enough to introduce them into my first home.
The Habitat Christmas Supper Club surpassed my expectations to rank highest amongst the most enjoyable events I have ever attended. A beautiful festive table was set out for us in the Tottenham Court Road store – heaving with covetable glass and tableware as well as sparkly decorations and unavoidable Christmas crackers. The menu was inspired too, a hot smoked salmon starter merely setting the scene for the main event – a traditional Swiss cheese fondue which was an incredible hit with everyone at the table.
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Fondue has certainly lost its retro lustre in recent years, but I think it is ripe for a big comeback. It is such a sociable dish – perfect for uniting guests over the bubbling cheese and just the ticket to soak up all the free-flowing wine and cocktails. The evening was punctuated with a spot of cocktail making – the guests took turns to mix a totally amazing mulled mojito. By the time the chocolate mousse dessert rolled round I was almost too full to indulge.
I promised myself I would recreate the Swiss cheese fondue experience at home and share the recipe with you all. Not only is it really easy to make, your dinner party will be the talk of the town – among your friends at least! All you need is Swiss cheese, wine and a selection of dipping options – from crusty bread and charcuterie, to potatoes and crudités. A fondue pot is also very useful – mine came from Habitat of course! Use your favourite Swiss cheese – Emmental, Gruyère or Beaufort all work well – although I am also partial to less traditional, and usually French, Comté.
A big thank you to the Habitat team for inviting me to the Christmas Supper Club and providing the wonderful props in this post.
Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue
- For the fondue
- 1 large garlic clove lightly crushed
- 1 cup dry white wine preferably from Jura
- 200 g | 7oz grated Gruyère or Beaufort cheese
- 200 g | 7oz grated Emmental or mature Comté cheese
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or kirsch
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- To serve
- medium baguette cut into small cubes
- crudites boiled new potatoes, charcuterie
- Rub the garlic clove over the bottom and sides of a saucepan. You can leave the clove in for a stronger taste or discard.
- Pour in the wine and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat.
- Reduce the heat to low. Gradually add the cheese, a few handfuls at a time, stirring slowly in a figure of eight.
- Continue until all the cheese is added. If it is not melting readily ,increase the heat, but only slightly
- Stir in the sherry, pepper and grated nutmeg.
- Transfer the melted cheese to your fondue pot to serve. Offer a platter of cubed bread, crudites etc for your guests to dip into the fondue. Give the pot an occasional stir to avoid the cheese setting.