Monday, May 16, 2011
Chocolate Fondue with Cheddar: Avery Aames-Book Giveaway
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 http://www.collierscheese.com/US/about.htm
CHOCOLATE FONDUE WITH CHEDDAR
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
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.]