Fondue recipe from occupied France

From Horned Pigeon, by George Millar, published 1953. The book tells the story of Millar’s World War II capture in North Africa and imprisonment in Italy and Germany. In 1943, he escaped from the Germans and made his way across occupied France with the help of many, many people. His evocative writing goes from descriptions of starvation to gluttony — surreally huge and gourmet meals made from black-market ingredients.

The following passage describes exactly how a Frenchman made fondue for a group that was hiding Millar in the mountain village of Chaumontet.

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After dinner, there was more eating and drinking to be done. Angelo made la fondue.

First he cut up a few cloves of garlic and heated them with a little butter in the bottom of a huge iron saucepan. Heated the garlic until it was goldern brown. Then poured in a litre and a half of good dry white wine. When the wine was nearly boiling he stirred in 3 lbs. of cheese, beautiful mountain Gruyère, cut into slender shavings. The pot now had to be continually stirred until the contents became one viscous, bubbling, yellow semi-fluid. Meanwhile Edouard had gone off to a baker and returned with a loaf of near-white bread. The bread was cut with sharp knives into little triangles. The pot was set on a slowly burning spirit-stove in the centre of a table. We stood round in a circle. Each person took a triangle of bread, fixed it on his fork and swirled it in the mixture. When the bread was withdrawn it was soaked in, and covered with, the fondue. There are few things more delicious.

If any guest dropped his bread into the pot, he was obliged to pay for a bottle of wine.  With the fondue we drank Roussette, an excellent local white wine … In this pleasant manner we consumed several bottles.


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