Cheese has been listed as one of the life’s simple pleasures that are often enjoyed with wines. With a deep-rooted cheese culture in France, it is of no surprise to any cheese lovers that there are over 1,200 varieties of French cheeses. If cheese is your way of life, please read on.
Be it Beaufort which is imbued with floral aroma, or savoury Comté, these renowned names, along with many other cheeses, are no stranger to foodies around the world.
This year, the Centre National Interprofessionel de I’Economie Laitière (CNIEL) together with Chef Stephane Istel of Bar-Roque Grill, featured some really amazing French cheese with a Peranakan touch in the form of a French Fondue, a traditional technique that brings out the irresistible flavour of French cheeses.
I was very blessed to be invited to this exclusive by-invite-only culinary workshop by Chef Stephane Istel at CulinaryOn last Thursday to try my hands on fondue-making using a selection of fine French cheeses fused with an unexpected local twist – Buah Keluak.
The French Fondue was made with Gruyère, Beaufort, and Comte cheeses which are readily available from premium grocers and supermarkets island-wide. I have never known that making cheese fondue can be so easy. I think you guys should try making some at home as well.
French Fondue Recipe
150g Aged Comte
2.5 dl Dry White Wine
3 tbs Corn starch
2 cloves Garlic
1. Mince the garlic into very fine pieces.
2. Combine the grated Gruyère, Beaufort and comte cheese, minced garlic with the wine (or heaps of wine), cornstarch in the fondue pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses begin to melt.
3. Add a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth.
Please remember not to overcook the fondue or it will get stringy. Serve at once with your fav bread, ham, cheese…etc
My personal opinion, cheese fondue tastes better with more alcohol. So do not hesitate to add more white wine, or even champagne. Afterall, cheese and wine are the perfect pairing.
The culinary workshop also featured other French cheese creations by Chef Stephane, such as Reblochon cheese served on toasted sourdough and fresh red grappes; Garlic and Fine Herbs cheese served on toast brioches served with candied walnut; and Bleu d’Auvergne served on French baguette and chutney. It was in fact an unforgetable afternoon with some fine cheeses, wine and more cheese.
For those who are interested with the Buah Keluak Recipe, it is as follows –
5pcs Buah Keluak seeds
1 stalk lemongrass
50g Shallots (peeled)
20g Garlic (peeled)
1tsp Lemon juice
1 cup Brown sugar
1. Scrub the seeds in water.
2. Change the water and soak.
3. For best results, repeat over 3 days. Crack open the buah keluak shells at the top. Set
the shells aside for use later.
4. Scrape the meat out of the buah keluak. Marinate the buah keluak meat with juice of half
a lemon and brown sugar for a few minutes.
5. Pound the buah keluak meat in pestle & mortar till it becomes a smooth paste.
6. Stuff the paste back into the buah keluak shells.
7. Blend ginger, shallots and garlic separately.
8. Remove the tough outer layers from the lemon grass, leaving only the
9. tender middle and cut to about one-inch in length, then blend.
10. Soak the candlenuts in water for about 10 minutes.
11. Discard water and blend the candlenuts to a paste.
12. Heat oil in wok. Add the garlic, followed by ginger. Saute till fragrant.
13. Add in the lemongrass, and continue frying.
14. Add in the shallots till fragrant, then add the candlenut paste.
15. followed by the buah keluak.
16. Pour in the other half of the juice of assam and simmer.