Hiking Trails

DONNA’S DAY: Cheese fondue wins Super Bowl dinner | Community life

My best memory of cheese fondue dates back to a summer in Switzerland, his country of origin. After hours of hiking in the Alps with a French family, we arrived at a charming mountaintop chalet, where we dipped chunks of fresh, rustic bread in a classic cheese fondue to top off a perfect day.

The memory of the edible trek lives on when I prepare a fondue at home. Although authentic Swiss Emmentaler and Gruyère cheeses are available in the US, they can be quite expensive, so I Americanized and simplified the traditional recipe using condensed cheddar cheese soup as a base.

Get out your fondue pot, stir this easy recipe, and warm up with friends and family on a cold winter evening. Or serve it as a new supper during Super Bowl halftime. A mixed green or fruit salad makes a good side dish.

SOFT CHEESE FONDUE

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed Cheddar cheese soup, such as Campbell’s

1/4 cup dry white wine or apple juice

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Tabasco (optional)

Salt and white pepper

1 clove garlic, halved

French bread, cut into bite-sized pieces, each with a bit of crust

1. Heat soup, wine or apple juice and cheeses over medium heat, stirring constantly until cheeses are melted. Add a drop or two of Tabasco and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Rub the inside of a fondue pot with garlic. Pour the smooth cheese mixture into the fondue pot and keep warm. Serve yourself by pricking pieces of bread with fondue forks and dipping them completely in the sauce.

Make 4 to 6 servings.

Bonus idea: For preschoolers, dipping a long pretzel or bread stick topped with a piece of French bread into their own bowl of the gooey cheese mixture is just as fun. Also try veggies and apple slices for healthy dunkers.