Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Heart Beer

Pinky: Well, tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

Brew: It's today for me... you're living in the past.

P: I can't help it. Since I'll be busy not celebrating, I wasn't sure if I would comment on the subject, particularly on a beer blog (this feels like a big no-no). I'll be spending the day with my family and our friends visiting from the UK, so the extent to which I am celebrating means giving them each a bottle of beer matching their personal preferences (the perfect gift every time). However, I did start thinking about what I would do if I were in a different V-day situation. And in almost all cases of special occasions, I promptly think of food.

I think, in at least some minute way, adding beer to a recipe can really change the character of the dish. It can enhance particular ingredients, help blend the flavours of the dish, or just add that little zing your recipe may lack. But for someone looking to win over that special someone on Valentine's, I thought this recipe sounded A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I did also consider suggesting cutesy beer cupcakes, but then I realized on a "serious" day like Valentine's Day, you have to man up.
Cheese & Beer Fondue

That's right- that's what I would want on Valentine's Day. A steamy, dripping swimming pool-sized tub full of deliciously fatty cheeses, bound by a rich brown beer or smooth malty stout, with lots of bread and veggies for dipping (I don't recommend dipping various body parts, even if you do start feeling really, really adventurous. Just don't do it).

B: Speaking from experience? Maybe after our millions of readers have read this post, I'll be able to use my new pick up line... "Want to come back to mine and compare cheese and beer fondue burns?"

P: (cough) Regardless of whether you choose to maim yourself with hot cheese, a fondue is one sure way to score points for spontaneity, with double points for beer lovers male or female (did this post just become completely biased or is it just me? Ah yes, both).

What you'll need:

1 clove of Garlic
185 ml (3/4 cup) Dark Ale or other beer (for example, a nice Leffe Bruin for milder cheeses or a smooth stout for sharper cheeses)
250 ml (1 cup) Emmenthal cheese, shredded
375 ml (1 1/2 cup) Gruyere cheese, shredded
125 ml (1/2 cup) Appenzeller cheese, shredded
15 ml (1 tbsp) Corn starch
To taste, Pepper or Hot Sauce
Assortment of Dippers (bread, vegetables, various body parts)

What to do with what you'll need:

1. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub each half inside the fondue pot. Discard the garlic when finished.
2. Pour the beer into the fondue pot and turn on the heat: let the beer warm up without boiling.
3. Reduce to low heat and add cheese one hand full at a time (let the cheese melt prior to adding more cheese).
4. With a wooden spoon, mix well and stir regularly.
5. Add the remaining ingredients and pepper or hot sauce to taste.
6. If the mixture is too hard, add warm beer. If the mixture is too soft, add cheese (or try and suck up some of the excess beer through a straw).
7. Serve the fondue pot on a stand and enjoy by dipping bread and other pieces into the beer cheese. Also use your dippers or a stir stick to keep stirring the cheese throughout.

My family enjoyed a cheese fondue the other day and it was fantastic- it was my mother's slight variation on the recipe above, which I borrowed from

Good luck to anyone brave enough to attempt the fondue... believe me, it's worth it.

P.S. and Brew, I found something to make you smile. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

B: I'd post a picture of me in my monacle and top hat, but that's about all I'm wearing, and I don't want to have to reclassify the blog as containing adult content...

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