Is there anything better in life than bread and cheese? My sister and I agreed long ago – if you leave us on a desert island, leave us with bread and cheese. And then just leave us alone! Above all other combinations including peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots and milk and cookies, the combination of bread and cheese is hands down the winner. And what’s more perfect than quite literally dipping bread into a pot of creamy, garlicky, molten cheese? Nothing. The answer is nothing. Fondue is one of my most favorite ways to indulge in bread and cheese. And it’s not something you eat every day, so you may as well make it amazing with this Hard Cider Cheddar Fondue Dip.
This dip reminds me of the fondue they served at the first (and only) fondue restaurant I’ve ever been to. Every year when I was in college I’d come home for Thanksgiving break and my sister, who was still in high school at the time, would drive us into the city to have fondue. We felt very grown up indeed. Then, when I was out of college and it was my sister’s turn, we’d keep up the tradition when she would come home for Thanksgiving breaks. They’d make the cheese fondue right in front of us in a big pot in the center of the table. It started with beer, then some garlic and dry mustard, followed by a combination of cheeses and spices. They’d bring a big bowl of crusty bread cubes, some raw veggies and tart apple chunks. We would dip the night away, and it was heavenly.
Eventually we figured out how to mimic our favorite fondue at home. This version uses hard cider but you can really use whatever kind of beer you like. It’s also super cozy with the addition of tiny amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg. It may sound weird but trust me, it works.
Over the years, as we’ve obviously become more health conscious (I mean, when you’re 20 are calories even a thought?), the special nights of lingering over a hot pot of melty, hoppy, aged cheddar are few and far between. We don’t even use a fondue pot anymore. This Hard Cider Cheddar Fondue Dip is easy to make without one. In fact, I think fondue pots are kind of a waste of money, unless you want to sit there and eat for hours. Bottom line, this dip is going to be gone before it ever has a chance to cool off, so there’s no real need to keep it warm in a fondue pot all night.
Just combine all of the ingredients in a pot on the stove and it’s ready in about ten minutes. Transfer the dip to a separate bowl and serve it warm with lots of bread, fruit and veggies for dipping. And I’m not telling you what to do, but I’ll just say that I always make a double batch. In the rare event that you have leftovers, this Hard Cider Cheddar Fondue Dip reheats easily in the microwave. So gather around the table with a crisp bottle of white or a nice IPA and this bread and cheese party started. Happy dipping!
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bottle of hard cider
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne pepper
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and garlic and cook until bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk in the cider, dry mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire.
Lower the heat and stir in the cream cheese and cheddar. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with bread cubes, apples and raw vegetables.