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Lilly Higgins: Say ‘I do’ to fondue, the perfect sharing dish for Valentine’s Day

So many things taste delicious dipped into a vat of molten cheese

Leftover cheese is never really a negative thing, but rather a delight. There’s so much potential in a chunk of mature cheddar or a slice of brie. One of my favourite things to eat while curled up on the couch is a few chunks of Parmesan with a glass of red wine. I usually associate excess cheese with Christmas. Over the festive season there were countless cheese boards adorned with all types of seasonal fruits, nuts and farmhouse cheeses. Cheese can also play a great part in celebrations all year round. This fondue is the perfect example.

Valentine’s Day is all about those we love, and what better symbol of love than sharing food? Fondue is a fun, interactive dish that’s perfect for sharing.

My love for fondue began in Switzerland, after a day spent hiking. There’s nothing more perfect in that situation than a pot of melted cheese, pickles and a few glasses of schnapps to wash it all down. It’s pure comfort food and so delicious. The dish was originally devised as a way to use leftover cheese and stale bread to create a thrifty treat. You can add all sorts of cheese to your fondue, so raid that fridge and see what’s available.

So many things taste delicious dipped into a vat of molten cheese, but some are particularly necessary. Pickles, such as cornichons or gherkins, are ideal as their sharpness cuts through the heavy sauce. Small baby potatoes, apple and pear slices, salami and, of course, crusty bread are all great too.


Choose a fruity, high-acidity white wine for this to cut through the cheese and ensure a smooth sauce. Irish farmhouse cheeses Coolea and Templegall would be my ideal pick for this. A cast-iron pot such as a small Le Creuset is ideal for making this fondue but any heavy-based saucepan will do. Once the cheesy sauce is eaten, the layer at the bottom of the pot cooks into a crust, called a religieuse, probably the most delicious part.

Fondue is so simple to make. Have everything prepped ahead of time and you’ll have a fun, easy and delicious cheesy treat to share with your partner, friends or family.

Recipe: Classic cheese fondue

Lilly’s Kitchen Tips:

  1. Leftover blue cheese is amazing crumbled into sautéed mushrooms, along with some thyme and a splash of brandy or whiskey. This is perfect for serving with steak or burgers.
  2. Buy cheese in blocks and grate it yourself at home. Ready-grated cheese is often coated in extras such as potato starch or cornflour to keep it from clumping together.
  3. Wrap cheese in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container as it will sweat and harden in cling film.