Swiss Raclette, Fondue & Chocolate!
Cheese & Chocolate! A dinner party with all things Swiss and a fondue recipe!
Follow Me Foodie to Switzerland… okay well not quite, but this was reminiscent of it. It was a very traditional and stereotypical Swiss dinner and I decided to wear 5 watches for the occassion. This isn’t a typical post, but a personal peek into a dinner party with my friends. It’s one of those experiences that you appreciate so much that you just have to share, brag, and document in a blog post.
This very traditional Swiss dinner was prepared by my talented Swiss friends Chef Adi and pastry chef and chocolatier Chris. Sure, you can get some version of the following in the context of a restaurant, but this was authentic Swiss raclette & fondue at home (not my home).
It all started on Twitter. Adi and I were discussing raclette and then Chris chimed in saying how he missed it. Since they’re both chefs and both Swiss I naturally assumed they already knew each other… (I know, I’m a geek… but hey Vancouver’s small!). Anyways, they didn’t know each other and I wanted to make the Swiss introduction. So, we decided to do it over a Swiss dinner! And who said the Swiss weren’t out going?! Don’t answer that… they make sharp knives.
Food is so much more enjoyed with great company… and vise versa. Yes, if your company sucks, at least you’re not listening to a boring story on an empty stomach. On this occasion I had the benefit of great company and food, AND a free yodelling lesson after. No I’m kidding about the last part… although the topic of Ricola did come up.
On the table:
Adi’s Swiss Fondue Recipe
I basically bathed my baguette in a hot tub full of bubbly, creamy, velvety smooth cheese fondue. The melted cheese just ribboned down my bread and fork. As a foodie, I think this is probably equivalent to how guys feel about that whole girl under a waterfall thing.
This was actually quite the boozy fondue and the person sitting in front of it is responsible for stirring it to prevent the cheese from burning.
Adi’s Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe (for 4 ppl)
- 1 garlic cloves (2 each person)
- 400 ml dry white wine
- 300 g Emmental cheese, shredded
- 300 g Appenzeller cheese shredded
- 300 g Vacherin cheese shredded from Fribourg
- 2 tbsp potato starch or cornstarch
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Ground nutmeg to taste
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) kirsch (cherry schnaps)
- 2 loafs of bread like tuscan bread, french bread or baguette, cut in cubes
1. Cut garlic clove in half and rub clove all over inside of fondue pot. Pour in all but 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the wine; bring to simmer over medium heat on stove top.
2. Add Emmental, Appenzeller and Vacherin cheeses; stir with wooden spoon until melted. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining wine and kirsch; stir into fondue pot along with pepper and nutmeg.
3. Bring to simmer, stirring; simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. Place over medium-low heat of fondue burner on table, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain low simmer and stirring often. Serve with the cubed bread and dip into cheese mixture.
**Remember to save the cheese that gets all stuck to the bottom of the pot. That’s one of the best parts because it gets all crispy, nutty and caramelized.
Original Willisauer Kirsch (cherry schnaps) 37.5% vol – You can only get this guy in Switzerland and although you can drink it alone, it was actually used as a pre-dip for the baguette before going into the fondue. It was almost a “quick rinse” before joining the pool party. I accidentally got some on a paper cut (I know, what am I 10?), but it stung like a freaking bee-sting and I was pretty much drunk just smelling the bottle.
Raclette means “to scrape” and it refers to the cheese as well as the type of meal. Traditionally the cheese comes from a much larger wheel and only the part that gets melted is eaten. Shepherds and farmers would heat the raclette in front of a fire and scrape the melted portion over boiled new potatoes, so this perceived “fancy” meal is actually considered a peasant meal. We used Emmi raclette cheese and Fribourgeois raclette cheese.
In the context of home, the raclette cheese is sliced and an electric raclette grill is used to melt the slices. Gherkins and pickled onions are served as an accompaniment. Although we enjoyed the cured meats as an appetizer, you can also enjoy them with raclette.
I don’t remember the last time I was so excited for a slip ‘n slide… but it was probably when the commercial came out for the actual Slip ‘N Slide. The blanket of cheese is poured over small buttery boiled potatoes.
If you don’t have the means to do this at home, then the closest thing I’ve seen to authentic raclette was at the Vancouver Christmas Markets from Dussa’s Ham & Cheese. Dussa’s Ham & Cheese is located on Granville Island in Vancouver and they specialize in Swiss Raclette with all the right fixings.
The Appenzeller I know refers to cheese, so when this Appenzeller (made from 42 herbs, 29% vol.) was brought out as the traditional Swiss digestif I was intrigued… until I smelled it. It smelled like Tiger’s Balm or some type of medicinal herbs, but it tasted much better than it smelled. The flavours were sweet and of caramel, but the after taste was of medicinal herbs and slightly minty. The brine or cider is used to flavour Appenzeller cheese and that’s where the cheese gets its name from.
And of course what’s dinner without dessert? And what’s a Swiss dinner without Swiss chocolate? Well thanks to my amazingly talented friend Chocolatier Christophe (who is also the pasty chef at CinCin Ristorante in Vancouver) we ended dinner with this!
The glossy finish on this cake was shining more on this than it ever did on my grandpa’s head! It was beautiful and it tasted just as good!
I’m also very excited and proud to announce that Chris has been selected as one of the 12 Canadian chefs to compete for the World Chocolate Masters. The competition will be held in Toronto and the winner will represent Canada in Paris at the world final in 2013.
Chris is currently brainstorming and practicing his show piece for the World Chocolate Masters and he forced us to try his creation… well bend by rubber arm. What? Chocolate cake from a world class Swiss chocolatier again!? Ooookaayy… I guess someone has to do the work.
This cake only took him an hour to make! Just hearing that put me in awe for an hour! It was a financier sponge cake soaked in dark rum, caramelized diced pineapple in Tahitian vanilla bean, star anise and cinnamon, pineapple and meyer lemon gel, alto el sol single origin from Peru 65% chocolate cream, white chocolate mousse infused with maple syrup and a crisp nougatine crunch somewhere in between.
Chris is still perfecting the recipe and I have kindly volunteered to help him get rid of all his “mistakes”. I had 3 slices of this cake…
Oh! And to top things off it was no “cherry on a cake”, but a box of hand made chocolates. You can also try these at CinCin and/or order them from Chris if you’re looking for something specific – see here.