We’re in the grips of a cold snap here in Toronto — having just come out of a couple breathtakingly cold days of minus 20 degree weather, and if the forecasters are to believed, about to head into a week where the balmiest temps will hover around minus 9.
This is the time of year when those irritating “silver lining” people talk about the great ski conditions and hitting the slopes. If that’s your way to deal with Old Man Winter, God love ya, but I’ll meet you in the chalet after — we’ll be the ones by the fire, in an appropriately Canadian sweater. (It’ll have reindeer or those colourful Hudson Bay stripes on it or something).
But don’t worry: We won’t bah-humbug your weekend of frigid athleticism. No, we’ll be your cheerleaders, helpfully welcoming you back from a hard day on the hills with a fabulous fondue and an equally delicious vino to go with it.
As many of you know by now, we’re big fans of matching food and wine based on the “if it grows together, it goes together” basis. True, fondue doesn’t exactly “grow” but we’re happy to take our cues from the (fairly) general area from which it originates:
Gruner Veltliner – Domaine Wachau, Austria, 2008
We like Gruner. It was popular for a while and then, as all wildly popular things seem to do, fell out of fashion as those in the know went in search of the latest and greatest. Still, this medium bodied Austrian wine has fabulously aromatic flavours of orchard fruit and floral blended with a slight earthiness. The silky mouth feel should be a nice compliment to the rich cheese. (This would also work with a wild mushroom stuffed pork tenderloin, seared sweetbreads or even sushi.)
Chenin Blanc – Cave Spring VQA Ontario, 2007
Cave Spring is one of our favourite Niagara wineries, and this is one of our favourite wines from it. High acid with incredible stoney minerality, mixing with just-ripe white peach and mouthwatering honey-lemon flavours, this has all the seriousness of a Loire (Chenin’s original home) wine. Great price,too. (You could also enjoy this with Chinese take out, fish and chips, or for the healthier ski-bunny, tilapia seared in a white wine-leon sauce with fresh herbs.)
Ice Wine – Inniskillin Riesling Icewine VQA Ontario
Ice wine is pricey — but worth it, and can be incredible with fondue. Despite it’s sweet flavours of ripe peach, honey, and dried apricot, there’s a nice whack of acidity to keep it from getting too cloying. Paired with all that melted cheese, it’s sheer decadence. (But you can also try this with foie gras or berries and whipped cream.)