There’s a small chain of French bistro type restaurants in the Bay Area, Left Bank, which used to have a location in our neighboring town of Pleasant Hill. The rumor is that the owners of Left Bank decided to expand, opening one or two other restaurants (not branches of Left Bank, but another venture, I believe), right about when the recession hit hard. Suddenly quite short on cash, they closed two of their five locations, including the one near us. I was saddened by the loss, because Left Bank was one of my go-to restaurants when I wanted something delicious, semi-casual, and close by. I even went there once to kill some time while Maya was getting her hair done at the Paul Mitchell Beauty School across the street, and had a lovely cheese and fruit plate for lunch. One of my favorite items to get, if there were enough of us to make it logical, was their cheese fondue. Normally I’m not a big fan of fondue, mainly because it tastes too much like wine and Swiss cheese. Little did I know that there are many varieties of cheese fondue, until trying the version at Left Bank, which uses Brie, Chevre, and Gorgonzola. Really, really good.
When they closed, I went on a hunt for a recipe, and found something that looked like it might work. I scratched my notes down on a piece of paper, and forgot about it. Unfortunately, I cannot find this recipe online anymore, so I don’t know who to credit. Anyway, Sunday was Cherry’s birthday, and I decided this would be a perfect time to give the fondue a try. And I received a cute little fondue server for Christmas this year, so I pulled that out as well. So what it says “Noel”, and it’s summer. Really, who cares?
‘Left Bank’ Fondue aux Fromage
- 1/2 cup cream
- 6-8 oz triple cream Brie, rind removed
- 6 oz mild Chevre, cubed
- 6 oz Gorgonzola
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Ideas for dipping: toasted baguette, sliced pears, sliced apples, calamata olive peasant bread
In a heavy bottomed pot, gently heat cream, but do not boil. When cream is steamy, gradually add remaining ingredients, stirring to ensure even melting. Do not boil. Be careful not to over heat the cheese. Serve with your choice of dipping items.
The Fondue aux Fromage at Left Bank is served with toasted baguette, so we had that as one of our dippers. Sadly, I toasted the bread too much, and it burned under the broiler. While waiting for more bread to toast, the fondue overheated, and it turned soupy. Like, instead of being a nice thick gooey consistency, it was more like cheese broth. Never one to waste delicious cheeses, and not wanting to see if it would get gloppy as it cooled, I served it at that broth like consistency. Result? YUMMY. Really good. But yeah, don’t overheat if you want it to be the proper gooey thickness. Results were out as to what the best thing to dip in the cheese was…some said pear, some said the olive bread. I loved it all. I’ll make this one again, and watch it more closely.