Chosen Bites: Cheese fondue

An irresistible cheese fondue is perfect for the party season.

Cheese fondue (photo credit: LAURA FRANKEL)
Cheese fondue
(photo credit: LAURA FRANKEL)
The festivities continue with Sylvester/New Year’s. Whether entertaining a group of friends or just a quiet evening with family, a simple and delicious cheesy fondue is perfect party food.
There is nothing more comforting than warm-gooey cheese. Warm and welcoming, fondue begs to be dipped into. There is also nothing more maintenance free for a party host than a big pot of fondue.
The fondue can be prepared up to an hour before serving. Be sure to use the best quality cheeses you can find.
I like to have a variety of dippers. I use cubed bread, pretzels, roasted potato wedges, crudités, and apples. Use whatever appeals to your family and be sure to have a lot. Fondue is irresistible.
Cheese Fondue
2 cups best quality ale
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 ½ pounds of grated cheese (I like to mix equal parts Swiss, sharp Cheddar and Emmentaler - this mix gives the fondue a nice balance)
1 clove garlic, cut but not chopped
Dippers: cut up bread cubes, blanched vegetables such as: green beans, carrots, roasted mushrooms, apples, cooked potatoes, pretzels and whatever else you like
Preheat a slow cooker to LOW if using
1. Heat the ale to a simmer. Add the paprika and lower the heat to keep the ale warm.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat, and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the warm ale to the roux (flour-butter mixture) and add the cheese and stir the cheeses until melted.
3. Rub a fondue pot, slow cooker or chafing dish with the garlic clove (this will lightly flavor the fondue) and discard.
4. Transfer the fondue to the fondue pot, slow cooker or chafing dish. Arrange the dippers in baskets and on platters. Enjoy!
Tangerine Twist
Tangerines are in season and are refreshing and pair well with crisp Prosecco or champagne.
1 bottle Prosecco, champagne or favorite sparkling wine
2 cups fresh squeezed tangerine juice
½ cup pomegranate juice
½ cup vodka
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Mix together and serve in sugar rimmed champagne glasses.
To sugar rim a glass: pour several tablespoons of tangerine juice in a saucer. Place several tablespoons of sugar in another saucer.
Dip the rim of the glass in the juice and then in the sugar. The rimmed glasses can sit for several hours before being used.
You can add zest, spices and food coloring to the sugar for added garnish. 
Tangerine Twist for Kids
4 cups lemon-lime soda
2 cups tangerine juice
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Stir together and serve in sugar rimmed glasses.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.