Fondue is perfect for cozy fireside eating for two, but in February 2007, New York Chef Terrance Brennan had a bigger idea. He set a Guinness World Record by making the world’s largest fondue, a vat of melted cheese weighing in at more than a ton.
As the chef/owner of the Big Apple’s premier cheese-centric restaurant and specialty cheese retailer, Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro & Wine Bar, Brennan knows a thing or two about fondue. His 2,100-pound masterpiece required 1,900-pounds of cheese, 105 gallons of white wine, and many pounds of salt, nutmeg, pepper and cornstarch. Brennan, who also owns the city’s Artisanal Premium Cheese Center where cheese classes are held several times a week, donated the dish to City Harvest, a nonprofit group that feeds the homeless. While Brennan had to locate a century-old sugar mill urn, fabricate a custom set of propane burners, and even get a special permit from the fire department, his normal-sized recipe is straightforward for home cooks. It’s a great choice for entertaining, simple to make and fun to share.
The classic Swiss dish has made a big comeback in the last few years, according to Brennan. “Who doesn’t love melted cheese? It’s a highlight item on our menu, and we sell a ton of it.” No pun intended.
By Larry Olmsted, a food writer in Hartland Four Corners, Vt.