Melting cheese and cold weather go together like snow chains and icy roads, bobble hats and woollen gloves, and ugly sisters and principal boys. They were meant to be together. That’s why fondues come into their own at this time of year.
A fondue is the universe’s way of inviting you to stay in and spend the evening in front of the fire.
We had one last night. In the past, we had always bought a packet mix from the supermarket. Our passion for cheese has ramped up a bit since then, so this year, we thought we’d do it properly.
There was only one place to go to get the cheese we wanted and the advice we needed: London’s Androuet fromagerie (pictured). This is the cheese shop behind the book A Year in Cheese that I bought Damon for Christmas. He’s been itching to go ever since.
It’s situated in Spitalfields, which has changed almost beyond recognition since we last went about 15 years or so ago.
Androuet’s smart open-plan shop leads through from the street into the central market area, where its sister restaurant is located.
The young man who served us suggested a Comté and an Emmental for a fondue. For three of us, a kilo would be about right, he said confidently. It struck me as a rather generous serving for three people, but we allowed ourselves to be instructed.
£35 later we left the shop with our bag of cheese: 700g of a three-year-old Comté and 300g of Emmental. A glass of white wine would be all we would need to add, he told us as he wished us a good day.
“A fondue is the universe’s way of inviting you to stay in and spend the evening in front of the fire”
As with so many things in life, you get what you pay for. Our fondue last night was in a different league to the ready-made ones we have had before. It was utterly delicious.
What’s more, we reduced the quantities and still had plenty to eat. Plus, there’s so much uncooked cheese left, we can do the same thing all over again next week. I can’t wait!