Do you Fondue?
This month we are taking a deep dive into this 1970s era style of sharing a meal. Fondue makes dinner that much more fun, and during this shelter-in-place we need all the fun we can conjure. Plus, it really doesn't take that much effort to prepare. And, honestly, you can get by without any special equipment so long as you have a pot and can figure out a way to keep it warm.
So, in this issue we have a included few of our favorite fondue recipes as well as a list of our recommended ingredients for creating your best fondue experience!
And, also take a visit to our produce department to pick up some apples, white mushrooms, and red grapes. Cube the apples and any large mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. And dip them raw into the melted cheese…delicious!
To accompany you cheese fondue it is great to have a bowl of Maille Cornichons (tiny pickles). We also love Les Trois Petits Cochons’ Mousse Truffee, a delectable pate with chicken liver, truffles, sherry and Pineau des Charentes.
And, Molinari Salame is delicious both for dipping into the cheese fondue or to eat along side it.
Finally, we love to stir a splash of brandy or cognac into our melted cheese for enhanced flavor. Two of our favorites are
Bas-Armagnac Delord Brandy that we carry in Napoléon, X.O., and 14 Ans d'Age. Or you could try Camus Cognac VSOP.
You can use just about any meat or seafood for a hot oil fondue. If you drop by our Butcher Department they will have ideas for the perfect cut of meat. And, consider meat fondue the base for exploring flavors through a variety of tasty sauces.
You also might try using your favorite sausages cut into 1/2-inch pieces. And, we carry Carando Abruzzese Italian Style Meatballs in both mild and spicy that are delicious for fondue. Aidells also makes yummy Caramelized Onion Chicken Meatballs that we recommend.
We carry so many delicious sauces to experiment with for fondue. And, this is one way you can abandon European flavors for a trip around the globe! Here are a few suggestions.
Stonewall Kitchen Caramelized Onion Mustard
is delicious on its own or mixed into mayonnaise for a milder flavor. And, speaking of mayo, Maitz Espania Garlic Allioli Spread
makes a great dipping sauce.
You can also try Maya Kaimal's Spicy Ketchup or Brooklyn Delhi's Indian Achaar Sauces. We have their Tomato-Chili and Roasted Garlic Chili.
Two more wonderful flavors that would go well together on the table are San-J's Thai Peanut Spicy Dipping Sauce
and Jade's Mekong Ginger Sauce.
And, it is always nice to have a bowl of Maille Cornichons (tiny pickles) to accompany your fondue—especially if you are doing mustard sauces.
For your chocolate fondue you want to present a variety of fruit—really anything that inspires you to dip in chocolate. Strawberries are classic, but try cubing fresh pineapple, fig, kiwi, banana, raspberries, tangerine slices…whatever you fancy. And kids love to dip marshmallows.
Baked goods are also wonderful dipped in chocolate—so long as they are soft enough to be skewered. A cubed baguette or croissant is delicious. We love cutting up a Taste of Denmark'
s Mini Angel Food Cake or their Poundcake.
A Staff Favorite
Supreme Cheese is creamy with a rich and buttery taste.
This mild cheese has delightful buttery flavor. And, its creaminess is tempting to a broad range of taste buds—even the little ones. Supreme cheese is crafted on the same day, from locally-sourced milk. This seals in the freshest flavor.
This soft-ripened cheese with a bloomy rind is best served at room temperature. Savor it on a fresh baguette and a glass of red wine.
In 2019, Supreme won a Bronze Medal at the 2019 World Cheese Awards, held in Bergamo, Italy, in the Soft-Ripened Cheeses category.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Take a Dip
The 70s were a funky time, man. We had bell bottoms and disco. There was a lot of plaid and polyester–tragically sometimes at the same time. (Yikes!) We had 8-track tapes of Abba and the Bee Gees. And let’s not dare forget the abundance of macramé. Be honest, you all had a macramé owl on your wall at some point. As a child of the 70s, I survived all of these. One thing I didn’t experience? Fondue…
It seems strange, really. As a food family, you would think, given its popularity, that fondue would have been a regular occurrence. You would, however, be very wrong. And, apparently this is something that has been missing in my life. That would be the only logical explanation I could come up with that would explain why I quite randomly used a gift card I received for the holidays to purchase two, yes, two, fondue pots, very much out of the blue.
To be fair, I did not order two of the same fondue pots. Why make this wackier than it needs to be? I instead ordered an electric one and the more traditional fondue pot that you keep hot with tea light candles. Why the two versions you ask? Because, and I had no clue this was the case, fondue is not just a pot of melted cheese. One can also Fondue with hot oil or broth. (Mind blown.) For the oil or broth version it is best to have an electric fondue pot so it is easier to control the temperature. Makes perfect sense.
The arrival of said fondue pots—and, of course, the requisite library of fondue cookbooks—was way more exciting than it should have been. (This is what happens when you’ve been locked up with your family for entirely too long and have reached the end of Netflix.) We had to try it out immediately. We opted for a hot broth fondue as well as a cheese fondue. I went with broth because we’re all a little twitchy right now. And, I found the idea of hot oil to be potentially problematic. You will be happy to note that no people were harmed in the making of this fondue. In fact, I was pleased to note that doing fondue this way is essentially like having Asian Hot Pot. (I know, but this was a revelation for me.) The recipe I chose was good but I would like to find another one that has a bit more oompf. When I do, I will make sure to pass it along.
For the cheese, I went with a brie fondue that was so, so good. The original recipe called for fig preserves to be mixed into the melted brie. I thought this would make it too sweet. So, I left it out and served the preserves on the side as a dipping sauce. I think it was better that way, but feel free to try both versions.
The cheese “dippers” were a traditional variety of cut bread, veggies and fruits. But, we all agreed the absolute best combo was dipping a crunchy red grape into the cheese. Divine!
Since stormaggedon is upon us and it looks like rain is in the forecast for the next week, now would be a great time to enjoy some hot, melty cheese when the temperatures are chilly outside. Can you dig it?
A Staff Favorite
TCHO Bittersweet Baking Chocolate is perfect for baking, cooking‚ and snacking!
And, we love it for our chocolate fondue. This 66% dark chocolate blend combines warm, complex cocoa notes with hints of dried cherries, currants, and roasted coffee. Delicious!
TCHO (pronounced cho) works with cacao bean farmers and cooperatives to improve growing, fermentation, and drying methods. They are based in West Berkeley and dedicated to working with farmers so they can taste test new ingredient combinations in the company's Flavor Labs. These are mini bean-to-bar labs that enable farmers to make and taste chocolate from their own beans—often the first time they have tasted their own beans!
There are benefits to choosing TCHO Chocolate. All TCHO products are about staying organic and being transparent. With that in mind, each product is ethically sourced and gives you at least a few of the following benefits: certified organic, certified kosher, fair trade certified, gluten-free, and vegetarian.
A Cookbook Recommendation
By Erin Harris
75 recipes for easy-cheesy fun
What’s better than a dinner party centered around a bubbling pot of delectable, melted goodness? The Essential Fondue Cookbook is your guide to a communal feast that unites different cultures and flavors, offering countless ways to indulge in a delicious life.
Start by learning all of the important tips for throwing a fondue gathering—from how to pick the right fondue pot to how to select the finest cheeses. With this fondue cookbook, you’ll dive into 75 deliciously dippable recipes ranging from classic cheese dishes to savory desserts that will elevate any get-together from mundane to memorable. Cook. Dip. Enjoy.
This cookbook includes:
Fondues and don’ts
Discover why swirling your dipper in a figure eight is good and eating straight from your sharpened long-handled fondue fork is bad.
Not only do the recipes in this fondue cookbook feature chocolate and cheese dishes, there are also lesser-known favorites and techniques like Fondue Bourguignonne.
Choose cheese wisely
Learn how to select the proper cheeses to ensure your meals taste like they were imported from a Swiss restaurant.
Erin’s first cookbook packs a PUNCH! With countless tasty recipes and tons of helpful DIY tips, I’ll definitely turn to this anytime I need inspiration for my next fondue-filled affair.
―Madison Trapkin, Editor-in-Chief of Culture Magazine
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Boiled in Oil
Have you ever experienced hot oil hot pot? Me neither. That will be remedied this weekend. To be honest, I have done the hot broth version. But, the hot oil kinda scares me because I am that person that no matter how many precautions I take when frying something like chicken, I get burned. Not badly but enough to remember it. Maybe I should get one of those heat suits you see in the movies. You know the silver ones with the square windows in the helmets? Or maybe I should just chill out. I have been told that a time or twenty…mostly by my children.
So this weekend I will face my fears and give hot oil fondue a go. I was not aware that this was even a thing until I went fondue-crazy after Christmas. I knew about Asian hot pot, of course, but not this.
Hot oil fondue, or Fondue Bourguignonne at it is actually called, is a Swiss invention. It was the inspiration of field workers who did not have time to go back home for a meal. So, they started bringing pots of oil with them that they heated and then stuck chunks of meat in to cook. It got the name Bourguignonne from the imported French beef from Burgundy that was the most widely used.
Beef is still the most popular and most traditional meat for hot oil fondue. But, really you can use whatever meat or fish you want as well as you favorite vegetables. Just make sure the pot is stable….
There is a wealth of information on the internet about hot oil fondue if you want to dig a little deeper. This Chef's Notes
blog post was particularly helpful.
Our classic recipe is delicious. And, it can be the basis for experimenting with sauces and flavors. And, of course, a good fondue cookbook is always a good idea…
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
cocktail dates back to the early 20th century in Italy. It is made from three equal parts of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The Negroni has come a long way since then, and we have a couple variations in our recipe archives like this Negroni Sour.
Creative bartenders have been riffing on the ingredients for decades. And, we recently tasted another interesting tweak of this classic cocktail.
The White Negroni was invented in 2001 by British bartender Wayne Collins at VinExpo in Bordeaux, France. He wanted to create a Negroni variation that kept the gin but switched out the other two ingredients. He replaced them with a gentian liqueur and Lillet Blanc, a wine-based aperitif. The gentian is a bittering agent, and the Lillet Blanc replaces the vermouth.
Our recipe uses Salers Aperitif for the gentian liqueur and Lillet Blanc, which brings floral notes and flavors of orange peel, honey and herbs.
From our recipe archives
We dug into our archives to bring you one more cheese fondue recipe that uses the traditional half Emmentaller and half Gruyere combination with white wine, some brandy, and a little nutmeg. It will transport you to an Alpine ski resort!
Fondue possibilities are endless, and you can get pretty creative, so mix your cheeses and dippers. Try a gorgonzola fondue with cut up pears—the bomb!
Although it is great to have a traditional fondue pot, don’t let that stop you! What you need is a pot with a source of heat underneath so the fondue stays melted. You can even use a cast iron pot with sterno or a tea light underneath.
News & Events
What are you munching on for the Golden Globes?
We are reaching for popcorn with Aloha! Each batch of Island Style Gourmet Popcorn is made by hand, with love, in the Bay Area. Ohana uses mushroom-style kernels to make sure no toppings are wasted. The best gourmet popcorn this side of the Pacific!
What we have in stock
Their own unique version of Kettle Corn with an island twist. Ohana uses the best mushroom popcorn and use the perfect balance of pure cane sugar with sea salt. Mix this with some White Cheddar and you have yet another great palate-pleaser.
Let's get a little tropical with this award winning, kick-butt Caramel Sea Salt dashed with a little bit of coconut sunshine for amazing flavor.
Sea Salted Caramel
This will go up against any and all caramel corn out there. The perfect blend of sweet and salty made with brown and white sugar, real Mexican vanilla, and real butter with a little added love.
From the Kitchen Table
Melting Your Heart
There really is no legitimate argument against dipping things in melted chocolate. I challenge anyone to walk by a chocolate fountain and not stare in rapture at its decadent beauty. Tragic though it may be, my guess is that you do not have a chocolate fountain in your home. So if a gal was compelled to dip something like a strawberry or a piece of pound cake into some luscious melted chocolate, what would her options be?
Sure, you could always melt your favorite chocolate in the microwave and dip your food item of choice directly into the bowl. Effective—but that method lacks a certain flair. For me, the better option would be using a fondue pot.
As I have talked about in a previous post, I have been exploring the world of fondue in recent weeks. And, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I have been looking towards the dessert versions as something different and fun with which to celebrate. Now, I could go with the tried and true straight up chocolate fondue which is definitely tasty…but that would be too obvious. There are more interesting options that contain flavored liqueurs or, most intriguing to me, espresso for that jolt of mocha flavor. However, the fondue recipe that called to me the most came from an unexpected place.
Despite the love I expressed for chocolate fondue, I was surprised to find that the recipe that got my mouth watering more than any other was a recipe for Bananas Foster Fondue. I mean, can you even handle the decadence?
Sure, the recipe calls for white chocolate so technically it’s a chocolate fondue. But, the star of this show is the caramel. And then there’s the rum…
Bananas are the obvious dippers for this. But, you could also use coconut macaroons, macadamia shortbread, chocolate pirouline wafers, apples, or whatever strikes your fancy…
From The Butcher's Block
Charcuterie is a word that is thrown around a lot but do you really know what it is?
Most people assume that charcuterie refers to salami and other similar foods. This is basically correct but actual charcuterie refers to so much more.
Charcuterie is a French term for the art of cooking devoted to prepared meats—though the practice is not limited to just the French. Every culture on the planet has their own version. This includes bacon, ham, sausages, pâtés, and confits. These preparations are primarily made with pork but include a whole range of other domestic and game meats. Salami, salumi, smoked meats, brined meats, rillets, jerky and even olives are considered charcuterie.
The practice of charcuterie was born out of necessity to preserve meats to keep them edible. In the case of sausage, it was also a way to use parts of the animal that would otherwise be wasted. Over the centuries, what was once a necessary chore evolved into an art form that produced a product with a wide variety of amazing flavors.
There are a number of categories that make up the foods of a traditional charcuterie. The following are just a few:
Probably the most recognizable and popular charcuterie but confusing since most people don’t understand the difference.
Salumi is the process of preserving and salting cured meat which traditionally means pork. The major muscles of the pig are cured to create meats such as pancetta, prosciutto, and coppa.
Salami is a fermented salt-cured or cooked sausage and is a subset of traditional salumi. Salami is made from a combination of meat, salt, and spices. And, it generally always has 20-30% good pork fat. It is then fermented and dried with a combination of either pure pork, beef, or other meats. After a few days, the fermented meat is dry cured and sometimes lightly smoked.
Forced meat is any raw meat that has been finely ground and emulsified with fat. The term comes from the French word farcer which means to stuff. Forcemeat is often combined with spices herbs or other ingredients to make sausages, pates, or terrines.
There are four kinds of forced meats:
Straight is produced by grinding equal parts pork and pork fat with a third meat—it can be also be pork or another meat. (This is confusing until you actually try it yourself. Then it all makes sense.)
Country-style is known by its more coarse texture, country style forced meat is a combination of pork and pork fat, often with the addition of pork or chicken liver and garnish ingredients. Country Style pate is a great example.
Gratin has some browned meat mixed in with the raw.
Mousseline has a lighter texture and is made from lean cuts of veal, poultry, fish, or shellfish which is then pureed with eggs and cream.
Confit is the process of salting, slow cooking, and sealing meats under a blanket of fat. It comes from the French word confire which means to preserve. In addition to being delicious, confits have benefit of being long keeping and can prevent meat from spoiling. Examples include duck confit or tuna confit which uses olive oil.
Rillettes, a charcuterie staple, are potted meats that can easily be made from shredded confit meats. We have a recipe for Pork Rillettes in our archive which is a fun cooking project. We also carry Groix & Nature Salmon Rillettes at the store.
If you are interested in trying your hand at making your own Charcuterie, we recommend starting with a pâté. This recipe for Country Pâté makes enough to freeze some for later. It will last up to 7 days in the fridge.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
Casey is our resident spirits guru and in-house mixologist. He is our go-to person whenever we have a question about wine, liquor, or cocktails. Recently he offered this cold-weather recipe and we all got to have a sip. It is tasty and perfect for your next trip to the snow or any evening when you need the chill taken off.
Laird's is a delicious, American apple brandy. And, St. Elizabeth is a simple blend of allspice, Jamaican rum, and sugar, but its taste is more complex than you’d think. The nose is pungent with allspice—which presents similar to cloves with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pepper note.
Ski Trip Recipes from Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Planning a trip to the snow?
We dived into our archives to surface with some of our favorite recipes for your ski trip—be it a week's vacation, a quick weekend visit, or an elaborate fantasy. We have selected recipes that are prepared quickly, made in a crock pot or Instant Pot, or where you can do some advanced prep from home.
Appetizers and Small Plates
Korean savory pancakes are quick to pull together. They make great finger food while you are waiting for the main course. This recipe calls for shrimp and squid which is pretty mild in flavor. If you prefer, you can ditch the squid and use shucked oysters instead for a stronger flavor.
So yummy and any leftovers can be served at breakfast the next day! You can also play with whatever ingredients and flavors strike your fancy—change the cheese, swap out the ham for sausages, create a veggie version…
Gravlax is salmon that has been cold-cured with sugar, salt, and fresh dill. Modern gravlax has a fresh, delicate flavor. This one is definitely a do-ahead, but you will be so happy you brought this along. It is delicious served on crispbread with cream cheese.
These wraps can be sliced into 1-1/2 in pieces and served on a platter as appetizers. The filling is easy to mix up. Cook the chicken in advance or use leftovers.
Like the chicken wraps (above) these are great sliced as appetizers and come together quickly. You can play with the fillings to suit your fancy.
This green bean recipe makes a really nice small pate to hold you over till the main course is ready. Plus, serving something fresh and green livens up the meal.
This, again can be served as a small plate. And, you might want to do some prep before you leave for the mountains. Make the dressing ahead and bring it up in a small jar. You can even pre-chop the cabbage and carry them up in a ziplock bag.
This recipe can easily be adapted for the Instapot. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page for instructions. And, if you purchase pre-cut butternut squash, baby carrots, and packaged stock, you can have it on the table in about 15 minutes.
Pacific Foods makes a great ready-made Pho broth base in both beef and chicken. You can also add demi-glace to the stock. Just ask our guys in the meat department will slice you some extra-thin meat to cook in the boiling broth.
This is a great recipe to make ahead, refrigerate, and transport in mason jars. If you do make it ahead, you may need to add a bit of water or stock when reheating.
This chowder comes together surprisingly quickly. It is called a a white chowder because every vegetable that's added is white. A combination of cream and milk plus chicken stock creates a rich and deeply flavored broth for a satisfying one-dish dinner.
There is nothing like the addition of a little spice to warm you up after being outside in the cold all day. This recipe hits the spot and can be either made ahead or adapted for the Instant Pot.
Another recipe adapted for the Instant Pot, this can be ready in 30 minutes. It is especially easy if you purchase a pre-chopped mix of onions, carrots, and celery.
As a do-ahead, you could always cook the black-eyed peas at home and then this delicious, low-country style dish is ready in minutes. Serve with steamed rice or grits.
This stew is made in the crock pot and can be set up in the morning for dinner. Imagine arriving back after a day in the snow to the whole place filled with the aroma!
This stew takes a little longer to make (It needs to simmer for about 30 minutes), and we are including it because you can make the stew ahead of time, refrigerate it, and transport it in mason jars. Served with a crusty bread, it makes a welcome and warming meal.
This recipe is adapted from a favorite, though not often used, cookbook called 1001 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. And, the curry comes together surprisingly quickly because the fish does not have a long cook time. Serve with rice and flatbread like chapatis. Do ahead: measure and grind all your spices before you travel and transport them in a jar.
This vegetarian, Indian dish from the state of West Bengal features squash, potatoes, zucchini and cucumber enriched with ghee and sweetened with grated coconut. A touch of heat will warm you after the snow. Purchase pre-diced butternut squash to reduce prep time.
Warm up your insides with the classic hot toddy. It can be a single serving, or batch-made for your pod. Just use a 2:1 ratio of hot water to Bourbon or Brandy, and keep it warm in a crock pot.
This warm, comforting cocktail is great for unwinding after a long day. And, it also might soothe what ails you during cold season. The chamomile tea lends a nice floral note to this whiskey toddy.
A delicious warming beverage on a cold night. Our recipe for the Rooibos Toddy omits the sweetness of honey and hits the spot with extra spice and bitters.
Nothing warms the heart like holidng a cup of Spiked Hot Cocoa in your hands. Our Wine and Spirits department made a few suggestions for what to spike it with.
This recipe has a couple more steps, but they are well worth the effort.
This warming cocktail is made with hot apple cider, and spiked with bourbon and ginger liqueur. Cracked black pepper underscores the ginger’s subtle burn, and the cherries contribute to the fruitiness.
Wassail is a traditional British Christmas drink with many variations. Here, apple slices are roasted in brown sugar and ale before being added to more ale, sherry, lemon peel, and spices. Warming and delicious!
This recipe makes a surprising and delicious variation on mulled wine. It will warm you up on a winter night and is delicious served with dessert cheeses. An added benefit is that it fills your home with an amazing aroma while it is mulling.
Vendor of the Month
These are some of our favorite Swiss Cheeses. Le Superbe Cheese reflects the terroir of the green hills and meadows where their cows graze on fresh grasses and herbs. Raw milk cheese shaped by the unique local and natural conditions. The hand-crafted cheese is selected and refined by months to years of careful curing and slow maturation.
Le Superbe is is one of the oldest cheese makers in Switzerland. Their cheese dates back to the year 1115, when monks at the Rougemont monastery in the Gruyère region in Switzerland began to cultivate the surrounding Alps.
Swiss Emmentaller AOP
A true Emmentaler AOP can only be created in the unique atmosphere where Le Superbe cows graze. The best raw milk is processed according to highest quality standards and traditionally crafted by experienced master cheesemakers.
The tender bite and alluring ivory color with cherry-sized holes complete this perfect true Emmentaller AOP.
Le Gruyère AOP
This is a cheese with an unmistakable character with a spicy, mature taste, fine salt crystals, fruity note, and the fine aroma of roasted chestnuts or hazelnuts.
The consistently high quality is ensured by the protected origin of each Gruyère AOP, and also by the authentic production according to a traditional recipe. Pure natural ingredients are processed in copper kettles to produce a traditional maturation with the characteristic grainy, brownish rind.
We also carry their Cave Aged Gruyere with a more complex and mature flavor.
Temporary Store Hours During Shelter-in-Place
10 AM to 8 PM
Special shopping hour for seniors
9 AM to 10 AM
We will update you with any new hours as the shelter-in-place situation unfolds.
4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and droppable-1611878406464resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.