Monday 13 January 2014

The Fondue Incident

If you're familiar with my posts then you will know that I'm a really big fan of cheese, the stronger the better. It will come as no surprise then to know that Fondue is one of my favourite meals, though not eaten as regularly now as in the past.

When doing the weekly meal plan on Friday we decided to include Fondue, after doing the meal plan I always then do the shopping list. Both of these things are usually (stupidly) done between 10pm and midnight, sometimes later and always after a few glasses of wine and with one eye on the tv.

I hate doing the shopping list, which is why it gets left so late, sometimes I'm very organised - when I can be bothered - other times, not so. I've been having a love / hate relationship with food recently so I was definitely in a not so organised mood which is why Fondue Cheeses were put on the list and not the specific types. Big, huge, mistakey.

I'm not a morning person, once out of bed it takes me a good few hours to be truly alert, it's always been the case. On a week day this isn't too bad, I wake myself up by sitting at my laptop catching up with social media then I start working, slowly getting my brain to function in its own time. Weekends however, well Saturday mornings, that's when we go food shopping, I have no time to get myself alert.

You might see where this is going.

The reason we go on a Saturday morning is because we accompany my Dad who drives and more importantly, has an actual car which we do not. We also help him find things on shelves which are seemingly invisible and The Glutenite always helps with the bags, plus it's nice (usually, depending on his mood) to spend that time with him. It's also nice to get the shopping out of the way so we can get on with the fun weekend stuff.

I have a vague recollection of being down the cheese aisle, but thinking back to what I'm about to tell you I was definitely more asleep than I was awake.

For the Fondue I picked up Port Salut, Camembert and Reblochon. If you know your Cheese Fondue you just went 'OH'. Regionally correct, characteristics beyond bad.

I usually put a bit of Camembert in our Fondue, Taleggio too, both of which are soft cheeses, but mainly we use Gruyere and Emmenthal - hard and medium hard respectively - they're the kinds of cheeses you need to use.

I do all the prep for this meal but it's The Glutenite who does the hard work, the slow adding of all the cheese and the constant monotonous stirring.

So I'm in the kitchen preparing all the things we're going to dip; Croutons, Mushrooms, Smoked Ham. The Glutenite is on the sofa working his magic on the fondue pot on the coffee table. Me: "How's it going?" TG: "Not great".

Being the eternal optimist that I am I expected it to turn out as lovely as always.

Forty five minutes of constant stirring and even the Fondue Master that is The Glutenite could not get it smooth. By this time I'm ravenous and also sat at the sofa, I look into the pot. Me: "Ah well, it'll still taste delish".

Oh. The. Horror.

Now, I'm pretty fanatical about cheese (or I was), until Saturday evening I could never have imagined an amalgamation of cheese that I would turn my nose up at. It's cheeses I love, how could it not work flavour-wise?

On first dip, yeah, the consistency was grainy, wasn't pleasant but for some reason I didn't hate the taste. On second dip, oh wow, it's up there with the most awful things that I have ever tasted. Absolutely disgusting.

If you've ever watched I'm A Celeb you might have seen an eating trial where there was Cheese Fruit, I imagine our Fondue or rather, our Fondon't tasted just like one of those. It was sharp and  bitter, imagine a Fondue that had been made then left in the pot for 100 years, that's what it tasted like. Texture-wise it was like someone had thrown a handful of sand in it.

I don't know why at any stage I thought those cheeses combined would be a good idea. I was fully awake as I prepped it but when I'm cutting and weighing the cheese I always go on autopilot, I've done it so many times. I didn't expect anything but our usual Fondue triumph because I just didn't think about it. It was an utter disaster of a meal, a pot of rancid goo that has made my love of cheese waver somewhat.

I felt so bad, I'd just cut some stuff up, The Glutenite had been stirring that sorry mess for 45 minutes. Imagine doing all that work only to find that it tastes like death in a sweaty gym bag.

T'was grim but hopefully that's my meal disaster out of the way for 2014.

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