Friday, March 5, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Food & Wine Pairing of Cheese Fondue With Heron Hill Riesling

For last night's meal, my husband and I paired a wine that we had received from Heron Hill Winery to review with one of our favorite dishes, homemade cheese fondue.  This meal featured a wine & cheese fondue, various fruits, vegetables and bread for dipping, as well as the New Release of the 2007 Ingle Vineyard Riesling from Heron Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State.  The combination was perfect, with the light fruit and citrus fragrance of the wine with is strong hints of lemon and melon character, alongside the gruyere and emmental hard swiss and/or french cheeses, as well as the accompanying fruits and vegetables, particularly the apples.

The flavors of the Riesling were pleasant and fruity, but also crisp with a taste of acidity and a mineral balance.  It was quite pleasing to the palette with the melted cheeses.   New York's Finger Lakes Region has become famous for its Rieslings, and this wine was a great example.  Heron Hill's Riesling was perfect with the balance of acidity and mineral characteristics.  I thought it combined nicely with the melted cheeses and vegetables.  I also loved how its citrus and melon undertones complemented the tartness of the green apple that we used for dipping in the fondue.

To prepare the accompanying fondue, here's what you will need:

Sasha's Cheese Fondue

8 oz gruyere cheese (grated)
8 oz emmental cheese (grated)
2 T cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 cup dry white cooking wine
1 T lemon juice
1 T brandy
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
pinch of pepper

For Dipping:
Green Apple
French Bread

Follow the instructions for your electric fondue pot, which generally involves bringing all of the ingredients besides the cheese to a boil.  Boil for a minute, then reduce to a simmer and slowly add the grated cheese mixture.  The cheese in the fondue should never boil, so don't turn the electric pot temperature up too high.  Add the cheese until the fondue reaches the desired consistency.  For me, this required most of the cheese, with a little bit leftover.  Then, enjoy by dipping your favorite fruits, vegetable and breads into the fondue, along with a glass of wine.   We used strawberries, green apples, broccoli, french bread and carrots for dipping but you can substitute other fruits or vegetables.  My husband's favorite was the broccoli, while I really liked the combination of the strawberries and applies with both the fondue and the wine.

You should be sure to use Gruyere and Emmental cheeses for your fondue and not substitute.  I selected these cheeses because they are the traditional cheeses used in  Switzerland for making fondue.  Emmental is similar to swiss cheese, while Gruyere is hard yellow cheese made from cow's milk with a creamy and nutty flavor.  The fondue recipe worked very nicely, with flavors of wine, mustard and ancho chile to complement the traditional cheeses.  It pairs nicely with Heron Hill's new Riesling, and was quite an enjoyable and easy weekday meal.



  1. That wine sounds lovely! I am dying to get to the Finger Lakes. I haven't had fondue in forever, will have to pull the pot out of storage!

  2. What a great idea for a quick and easy appetizer. Fondue's are coming back and what a great pairing with Heron Hill Riesling. Can't wait to give this recipe a try for my next in home event. Just when I thought I was going to make my fondue pot a planter. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. That is my favorite Heron Hill wine and your recipe with the ancho chile powder sounds intriguing. I will have to try that next time we have some friends over. In addition to being good with the cheese and fruit, I like Riesling with foods that have a hint of heat.

  4. LOVE Fondue.....! yes, It totally does works perfectly with this Riesling. Heron Hill has lots more great Rieslings ought to try some. They have some of the biggest selection of Rieslings in the Finger Lakes!!!

  5. As our weather turning colder, fondue is perfect! Never thought of riesling with fondue but might give it a try :)

  6. It sounds great, though both types of cheeses you have used are Swiss cheeses, not French!
    Emmental comes from the Emme valley from the state of Bern, as the name was not protected other producers can use the name to produce the non-original Emmental. As for Gruyère, it comes from the city of Gruyères in Switzerland and before it got its AOC status, French produced a cheese named Gruyère (for example Comté and Beaufort). By French agricultural law, French Gruyère must have holes in it, while Swiss does not ;-)
    Excuse me this comment, but living in Europe you learn how incredibly important these differences are and how strict Europeans are about their cheeses and their names(whihc indicate an origin and the exact area the cheese was produced in). Anna


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