As the weather turns colder, a fondue is just what we need – especially now that eating cheese has been declared the secret to a long life. Yes, really.
We had a fondue last night. Our lodger, Felix, has been itching to have one for weeks. He comes from Switzerland and I think he’s starting to feel a little homesick. He has a stash of shop-bought ones in the fridge.
Very magnanimously, we offered to share one with him.
In fairness, I ventured out to buy the baguettes. I headed straight for the place I consider to be the best bakery in Brighton, Real Pâtisserie, and bought a standard baguette and a sourdough one.
Am I cheating writing about fondues on this French-themed blog? Maybe a bit. The Swiss invented the cheese fondue, but the French claim the meat fondue as their own.
Either way, the cheese version is very popular in the mountainous region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in eastern France. Plenty of luscious cheeses are made using milk from cows that have grazed on its Alpine pastures.
Beaufort, Gruyère, Comté and Emmentaler are among the most common and best known cheeses to be used in a fondue. Ours used a Swiss cheese called Appenzeller – and it was delicious.
“Plenty of luscious cheeses are made using milk from cows that have grazed on the Alpine pastures of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté”
We felt stuffed by the end of it, but maybe that’s a good thing? You see, Nature Medicine has reported this week that eating cheese could help people to live longer.
The secret is spermidine. I’m not making this up, I promise. This compound is found in aged cheese. (It’s also in soya beans, whole grains and peas but I can’t quite work up the same excitement for them.)
So far, only rats and mice have been tested, but their average lifespans have been shown to have increased.
In somewhat less clinical trials, 800 keen cheese-eaters in Italy were also monitored. They were found to have lower blood pressure and 40% lower chance of heart failure than non-cheese-eaters, so maybe there’s something in it.
It’s at times like this that I love science. And, believe me, that’s not something I say often – or lightly.