Meatless Monday: Fondue will melt hearts for a meat-free Valentine's Day

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Henk Kosters/Flickr

We’ve all been there. The buildup of Valentine’s Day can be stressful, but even more so for folks with special dietary needs—and their dates, for that matter.

Rather than battling crowds and long wait times if you’ve yet to make your dinner reservation, it’s easy to make a vegetarian-friendly Valentine’s Day dinner without the fuss. With a few swipes of the cheese grater over just one pot, you’re on your way to a classy dinner of fondue for two. 

The first trace of fondue dates back to about 725 BC, but was declared the national food of Switzerland in 1930, according to BBC Travel. A handful of cheeses are good to melt in fondue, but Gruyère is a staple that melts down easily and can be found in most grocery stores.

The name itself is from the French word fonder, or “to melt,” Edible Milwaukee reports, and it melted the hearts of Americans in the 1960s during its most popular period. 

While traditionally not vegan-friendly, fondue is an easy vegetarian dish to put on the table. Although traditional dippings sometimes include bits of steak or other beef cuts, those can be swapped out for extra bread cubes or carrot sticks. Popular dunking items include: 

  • Pretzels (soft pretzels or pretzel rods) 
  • Sourdough bread 
  • Baby carrots 
  • Broccoli 
  • Green apples 
  • Boiled potatoes 
  • Celery 
  • Cherry tomatoes 
  • Grapes

Feel free to dust off the fondue pot if you have one, or use a small saucepan if you don’t. There’s no wrong way to fondue this Feb. 14. The recipe below is big enough for a party, or can be cut in half to share with you and your sweetie. 

SWISS CHEESE FONDUE
Recipe from La Bonne Vie

Ingredients

  • Clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch (can substitute all-purpose flour in a pinch)
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 24 oz. Swiss cheese (recommend half Emmenthal, half Gruyère)
  • 4 cups Sauterne or Sauvignon blanc wine
  • 4 tbsp. Kirschwasser
  • French bread, cubed

Directions

  1. Rub inside of fondue pan with garlic. Toss cheese with cornstarch to coat.
  2. Heat wine until bubbles start to rise. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring all the time, until melted and blended smoothly. (I add more or less, as needed, for the right consistency, which means until the mixture nicely coats a piece of bread.)
  3. Add kirsch and a dash each of pepper and nutmeg. Move to the lighted fondue pot and serve with cubed bread.

For a vegan-friendly fondue dinner, simply swap the Swiss cheese with a dairy-free cheese of your choosing. 

What are your Valentine’s Day dinner plans? 

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