Cold Comfort Charm: Fondue

The weather is still dropping cold in San Francisco, so I see no reason not to dip into a new fondue book. Written by fellow Cowgirl, Lenny Rice, and her friend Brigid Callinan, Fondue is witty, cute, and perfectly delicious. Dropping allusions to Laverne and Shirley and Hawaii 5-0, this cookbook takes you through fifty fondue recipes -- sweet and savory -- as well as fondue accompaniments, like mango marshmallows, Irish soda bread, and spiced doughnut holes.

While I didn't make it yet, my favorite recipe by far has to be the one that came out of Lenny's football-watching childhood in Oklahoma. It's called "Whiskey Tango Game Day" and the recipe includes ground beef or pork and Velveeta. (Yes, Velveeta -- stop your pearl clutching.) Lenny writes, "And the name? If you're familiar with military radio alphabet, you'll probably know how we came up with it!" While drink recommendations for other recipes guide you to specific wines and beers, this recipe suggest you pair your WT Game Day fondue with Dr. Pepper, Bud Light, and RC Cola. Awesome.

The other night Big Cheese and I melted up a big pot of California Country Roads, which throws together the tangy-stinky combination of Cowgirl's own Red Hawk and Bellwether Farms Carmody. The recipe notes suggest using walnut bread, Fig Newtons, Graham crackers, and apples as dippers and pairing with a blanc de noirs. The Fig Newtons were definitely an interesting idea and the Fig Newton lovers in the group became addicted to the combo after the first bite.

With all these recipes at the ready, and a whole lotta cheese out there just begging to be turned into bubbly, velvet masses of goo, I hope these cold nights continue for quite awhile.


California Country Roads

Makes 2 cups

1 (12-ounce) round Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, rind discarded and cubed
8 ounces Bellwether Farms Carmody, grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Napa or Sonoma sauvignon blanc
2 tablespoons muscat or other sweet dessert wine

Toss the cheeses with the flour in a bowl and set aside. In a fondue pot, bring the sauvignon blanc to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low and add the cheese mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until melted after each addition. Add the muscat and stir until smooth. Serve immediately.

Serve with: toasted walnut or other rustic bread cubes, pear chunks, apple chunks, fresh figs, quartered, fig bars, Graham crackers.

Beverage Suggestions: pinot noir, blanc de noirs (sparkling wine), fino sherry