There’s more to fondue than bubbling cheese

You’ve been thinking that cheese fondue is simply white wine and Swiss cheese melted together and served warm with cubes of rustic bread. Wrong!

As certified chef and cheesemonger extraordinaire Erin Harris demonstrates in her first cookbook, Essential Fondue Cookbook, fondue can feature Asian Tempura, Chocolate and Espresso and even Beef Bourguignon.

In all, there are 75 recipes in the compact cookbook that was released May 19. Order your copy, in paperback or Kindle, on Amazon by clicking here.

The cookbook may sell out quickly as Erin, who now calls Toronto home, has a huge following on Instagram. Her recipes appear regularly in Culture magazine.

When we obtain a copy of the fondue cookbook, we’ll post our take on a recipe or three. If you get cooking before we do, or have a favourite fondue recipe of your own, send us a photo by email mailto:blog@cheeselover.ca or post a link in the comments section below.

We first met Erin almost 10 years ago when she left behind a career as a chef and started a new life as a cheesemonger by operating her own kiosk, called The Cheese Poet, at Western Fair Farmers and Artisans Market in London, Ontario.

She closed the cheese kiosk in 2014 to begin a new role as Cheese and Catering Manager for Sobey’s Urban Fresh, first to work in Toronto and then to help open the new Urban Fresh store in Ottawa in 2015. Last year, she joined Aux Terroirs, the distributor of Québec cheese and charcuterie, as “cheese hustler” (as she puts its) which brought her back to Toronto.

Here’s Erin in her own words as they appeared here in September 2014:

But let’s start at the beginning: I’ve always loved cheese. Cheese was always around, on the dinner table, in my sandwiches, in the cheese drawer. My Dad loves a really good nippy cheddar cheese, and also a nice stinky blue. My Mom, she is equally a lover of cheddar, but also brie, especially when baked and served with something sweet. My sister loves a good goat cheese . . . fresh chevre, gouda, tomme. And then there was me: I love them all. I always wanted to learn more, going to the local market to try something new each week. Cheese parties with my friends, cheeses abroad while traveling, cheeses every day, if I could!

My love of cheese really came alive the year that I took La Cucina Italiana: Italian Culinary Diploma at George Brown College in Toronto. While living in such a great metropolitan area I had a huge variety of food shops to choose from so, nearly every day I would walk the five blocks down to St. Lawrence Market and check out all three cheese shops. I would pick up little 2-ounce pieces of cheese that looked different and interesting to me, take them home, and savour them. I spent most of my grocery money on cheese!

As part of the diploma, I was required to do a work term in Italy, home of the King of Cheeses! For six months I worked in Italy, and fell in love with a country that truly celebrates food—especially cheese (and wine, and pasta!). The first cheese that really made an impression on me was the Stracchino, a cheese that the lady of the house where I worked, would eat every day at the end of her meals with a piece of fruit. She would share her cheese with me in the early days, but then my own container started to show up on the table. “Get your own Stracchino!” was the clear message. And then there were all of the Pecorinos. Young, aged, rolled in herbs, soaked in wine, drenched in honey. I consumed more Pecorino than any other food in those six months.

We congratulate Erin on the first of what we fully expect to be many cheese-themed cookbooks. We look forward to cooking with her, as it were, when we have our copy of Essential Fondue Cookbook in hand.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman and founder of Canadian Cheese Awards and director and founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.


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