Did you know, that the first mention of Fondue dates as far back as Homer’s Iliad from around 800-725BC, where it was described as a mixture of goat’s cheese, wine and flour? According to this article on BBC Travel where it tries to trace the mysterious origins of Fondue by traveling through Switzerland.
What is Fondue? Traditional Fondue is made of two varieties of cheese, the Gruyeres and Vacherin, grated and melted together with a hint of garlic, a splash of white wine and a touch of kirsch, cherry brandy. The resulting dish is served in an earthenware pot called a caquelon, which sits above a portable stove to ensure a constantly bubbling mixture, and long forks dip and swirl country-style bread into the pot. This is a communal affair, a nice experience to share with friends and family, kind of like the Asian Hot Pot.
From this original concept of Fondue, it has evolved into many versions using different ingredients, such as Oil fondue, where you have hot oil in the middle, and different varieties of raw beef and vegetables are at the end of a fork, and you fry your own. Then dip into the sauce of your choice, and eat away!
Then, there is of course the Chocolate Fondue, where you dip bread and fruits into a hot, fudgy chocolate sauce.
So it seems, that now there are hardly any rules as to what can be turned into a “Fondue”. If you are interested in a very traditional recipe for a Fondue, here is a traditional recipe you can try out with available cheese.
If you are near the New York City area, here is a comprehensive report on CBS where to go for a great Fondue experience! With the way the weather is going, it is still Fondue season in NYC!
What could be the quintessential food related to the Oscars that took place yesterday? Well, it does take place in Los Angeles, CA, and some of the articles mention that the stars go straight to this establishment after the Oscars. That is In-N-Out Burgers! Here is some history about the restaurant from their website. The chain store has a surprisingly rich history. The 1st store was opened in 1948 by Harry Snyder as California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand. Harry would pick out all the fresh ingredients himself. Soon after, he invents a unique two-way speaker box to have better customer experience when ordering drive-thru. Unfortunately, the chain has not yet reached the Mid-West or East Coast of the US. The stores are opened all throughout California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and some places in Texas.
So what makes In-N-Out Burgers so special? Watch this passionate explanation from Anthony Bourdain himself, claiming In-N-Out burger as his “favorite restaurant in LA”!
What I’ve personally found is that their customer service is like no other fast-food establishment. The employees are all so energetic, passionate about what they are doing, and don’t give off even a slightest feeling of being there against their will. The burgers and fries are absolutely delicious and fresh, and the menu is so simple. I have personally been to many different In-N-Outs, and the level of service and food quality does not change, whether it be at the airport, or in the middle of a suburban town.
If you have never experienced In-N-Out Burgers before, it is so worth a trip to California to try. Order the burger the way you like, and also with Animal style. You can ask for animal style on fries too! Don’t ask questions, just trust me on this one.
Photo from Thrillist article on 13 things you didn’t know about In-N-Out Burger
The Brazilian beaches are one of the best beaches to visit, partly because of the beach-side food and beer stands. Most local beaches are covered with little beach parasols with a side table, to accept many kinds of small finger foods with ice cold beer.
One of these delicacies unique to Brazil is Pão de Queijo. The direct translation into English from Portuguese would be cheese bread. They are made of tapioca flour, eggs, milk and cheese, and when fresh out of the oven, it is lightly crispy on the outside, fluffy and chewy on the inside. They are absolutely irresistible!
It is hard to confirm the history of Pão de Queijo other than that it started in the State of Minas Gerrais, Brazil. This website says the slaves in the state of Minas Gerais back in the 1600’s started scraping the left over manioc (yucca root) after harvest, and baked them into little balls to eat. After about 200 years, the freed slaves began to experiment with adding milk and cheese to the recipe. After the 1950’s, Pão de Queijo because immensely popular in the whole of Brazil, making it almost a national snack food. Now, Pão de Queijo is not difficult to find at Portuguese and Brazilian bakeries in the United States as well.
The best way to enjoy Pão de Queijo outside of Brazil, would be to try to make your own. The ingredients are easily accessible and can be modified to your liking. This recipe from Mel's kitchen cafe is great, with room to play with different kinds of cheese to include. The strong flavor and aroma of Parmesan is a must, but I also like to add mozzarella for the soft, cheesy texture. I hope you enjoy making these surprisingly simple to make, amazingly delicious and gluten free Pão de Queijo soon!
If you would like to enjoy some more Brazilian snacks, you can head into Newark, NJ or Elizabeth, NJ to find streets filled with Portuguese writing, catering to the large Portuguese and Brazilian immigrant population that has called the area their home for the last few decades. One example is Betel Bakery on Ferry Street in Newark, NJ. Here is a yelp review for your consideration.
Picture by Mel's kitchen cafe
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.