Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Fondue with Cheddar: Avery Aames-Book Giveaway

Contest Winners: Amy, Cyn, & Bobbi. Be sure and contact me, so Avery can send you a copy of her book.

Once again my worlds of mystery and chocolate connect! Today I welcome mystery author Avery Aames as Guest blogger.

Avery Aames is the author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller and won the Agatha Award winner for “Best First Novel.” Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen,  a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up on the Killer Characters blog.  You can order LOST AND FONDUE here. Read further for the chance to win a copy.

CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE What’s not to like?

For those of you who know me, you know right now I’m addicted to cheese. Okay, not addicted, but I’m experimenting with every recipe to see if I can add cheese to it.

For those of you who don’t know me, let me explain. I write A Cheese Shop Mystery series. My protagonist, Charlotte Bessette, is a cheese shop owner in the quaint fictional town of Providence, Ohio. As far as Charlotte is concerned, cheese does a body good. [Remember that old commercial, “Milk does a body good”?]

When Janet asked if I would do a guest blog on Dying for Chocolate, of course I thought of the usual suspects: chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake ice cream, goat cheese brownies. I’ve made them all, and they’re terrific, but my latest book is called LOST AND FONDUE, and I wondered whether chocolate fondue would work with cheese. I made a chocolate and cheese platter for Valentine’s Day, pairing dark chocolates with cheese, and the result was downright sensual.

But fondue? Strawberries work. Apples work. Marshmallows work. But what about cheese?

Guess what? It’s fabulous! I mean fabulous. The cheese held up under the “heat” of fondue. I used two different kinds of cheddar: Collier’s Welsh Cheddar and Hook’s.

A little tidbit about the cheeses. I honestly can’t get enough about the history of cheeses, worldwide. There are enough cheese to have a different one every day of the year (for ten years plus). I’ve barely made a dent in my tastings and I’ve probably sampled more than 200 cheeses in the past two years. For this adventure, I used an American-created cheese as well as European-created cheese.

Hooks Cheddar: The Hooks were college sweethearts. They make their cheese in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The cheddar I used is a tangy three-year “orange” cheese. They make so many other cheeses and have won awards for them.

Collier’s Welsh Cheddar: Collier’s makes a luscious white cheddar. The recipe is from a generations-old family recipe. The Colliers were miners and cheese was one of the few foods that would last without spoiling down in the mines.

Back to the fondue. The morsels were firm and the chocolate silky and divine.

I’m giving away three signed books today to commenters: your choice of either THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE or LOST AND FONDUE. So answer me this. Do you prefer dessert to appetizers? Do you like to dine in or out? What is the most sensual meal you can remember…ever? And if you’d like to share, with whom did you dine? I won’t tell more than five of my friends. LOL Enjoy. You have until 5/18 to post a comment. Winners announced on 5/19 on this post.

Links: Collier’s


1 package (11.5 ounces) Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
1 apple, sliced
1 bunch grapes
4-6 cookies
4-6 strawberries

Prepare the fruits and cheeses, dicing cheese into ½” cubes.

Prepare chocolate fondue pot. Set out the condiment dishes and heat about a ½ cup water in the lower half of the double-boiler. (I use Sterno to heat the water.)

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, dump the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons water.

On medium high (power #7 on my microwave), heat the chips and water for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, stir, and heat again (on medium high) for 30 seconds. The chocolate mixture should be smooth and silky.

Add brandy and cream. Stir. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ceramic fondue pot. Set the fondue pot over the warm water in the double boiler. [*If the mixture is too thick, add a little cream or water. If you prefer not to use brandy, substitute with another liqueur or water.] Keep the chocolate warm throughout the dessert.

Serve with condiments: cheese, apple, grapes, cookies, berries. Skewers required.

[*Note: I used gluten-free cookies that dipped beautifully into the chocolate mixture. This way, everyone, including celiacs, can enjoy the dessert.]


Molly Swoboda said...

My 44th anniversary is on the horizon. Now, that's a very good thing that only can be made better by applying cheese and chocolate...and grapes, and strawberries, and — of course — a mystery ingredient. Yes, definitely time for intense research!

Janet Rudolph said...

Molly, be sure and let us know what that ingredient will be.. and congratulations on that 'big' anniversary.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I don't know if you want our comments here or not so here goes:

I prefer appetizers - sometimes desserts are too sweet. I like to dine out when I can. I don't know that I have not had a sensual meal as my husband does not go for that sort of thing. I usually dine with my husband of 23 years.

Thanks for the recipe and chance to win one of your books. My email is giperang at embarqmail dot com

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Molly, congrats on the anniversary. I'm definitely intrigued by the mystery ingredient. I've got ideas, of course. LOL

Enjoy every moment.


Valerie Horowitz said...

One sensual meal in particular does not come to mind, but it occurs to me that if I were to make your chocolate cheese fondue for my upcoming anniversary on the 25th I might convince my husband to stay home (he wants to go out to dinner and I don't, since it's a weeknight), and it might result in a wonderfully sensual meal. I would probably finish it with chocolate cheesecake, since for me dinner is mere foreplay.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Griperang/Angela - I can't tell you how many people prefer appetizers to desserts. If you go to my website, I have posted a couple of cheese fondues that are appetizers. Enjoy.

Valerie - sounds like a fun date night to me. Chocolate fondue and chocolate cheesecake? Sugar shock for sure, but then... Enjoy!


Carol N Wong said...

My most sensual meal was a little Italian restaurant on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. We had Spaghetti Marinara and it was so good, we felt like purring!


Amy Meyer said...

hhmmm, lets see, I like all food, so apps or dessert work for me. I enjoy going out to try new foods, and then try and make them at home. I wouldn't say a sensual meal, but I do enjoy when my husband, son and I have what we call Euro night. Lots of different cheeses, some kind of meat, like smoked salmon, or salami, or pickled herring, plus fresh veggies, and fruits. We sit out on the couch, and rent a movie to watch.

Sounds like lots of anniversaries coming up. Mine included. 19 years June 20. Not sure of our plans yet. Maybe chocolate cheese fondue???

Amy Meyer said...

oops. My email is

Bobbi Mumm said...

Avery, the most sensual meal I ever had began with chevre and carmelized onions combined in an amazing head spinning appetizer. With a fabulous French burgundy to drink. I am definitely an appetizer person. If I had a choice, I would request THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Ah, Carol, how sweet. Purring is good.


Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I LOVE chocolate, but I far prefer savory to sweet, so hands up here for appetizers over dessert.

We're both pretty good cooks, so it's tough to say whether we prefer dining in or out, I think it largely depends upon my energy level and mood.

The most romantic meal I ever had was at a bistro in Quebec City. The meal was lobster pot pie - SUPERB! - the atmosphere was very romantic, and I was with my husband.

cyn209 said...

do we HAVE to choose between dessert & appetizer?? i would prefer both, but i guess appetizer would win, as one can try so many different things; whereas by the time desserts roll around, one wants something one knows........
i like dining out, as it's fun when to eat things one doesn't make.....but my excuse is that i don't cook!! LOL!!!thank you for the giveaway!!!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Wow, lots of comments from late in the day. I tried to get in to comment, but blogger wouldn't let me. Fickle (mumble).

Anyway, hi, all.

Amy, Euro night sounds amazing.

Bobbi, the chevre and carmelized onions sound like a winner. i'll have to try that.

Patti, my mouth started to water at the mention of lobster pot pie. A friend of my loves Quebec. I've never been.

And Cyn, no you don't have to choose. :) Isn't that the best part?

Hugs to all.


cyn209 said...

i just received an email saying that i won the giveaway!!
thank you, thank you!!!!
i can't wait to read it!!!!