Say “cheese,” and you get a smile — that’s equally true whether you’re posing for a photo or thinking of fondue. Heart-warming and soul-comforting at the same time, a bubbling pot of melted deliciousness is a fun way to share the love amongst friends or … lovers.
And there’s no better time to do fondue than February, the official month for taking in a chunk of cheesy heaven, according to Terence Brennan, Artisanal Bistro’s big cheese. This year will mark the seventh anniversary of “Fondue month” at the Murray Hill eatery, which has perfected the art of serving the most satisfying variations of the tasty dish (small $30, large $42). There’s the classic Gruyere-based Artisanal blend; a gouda/stout mix; and daily specials that might include a Manchego/chorizo combo or a goat cheese/tomato/olive/fennel amalgamation. Another reason to order the special: 10 percent of the proceeds is delivered to the charity God’s Love We Deliver.
“It’s fun, it’s communal and it’s a throwback to my parents’ avocado-green pot from the 70s,” Brennan says about his love of fondue. The chef, holder of two Michelin stars for his Upper West Side restaurant Picholine, opened Artisanal in 2001 as a shrine to the stinky stuff. A piece of trivia for fellow cheese heads: Brennan holds the Guinness World Record for world’s largest fondue. He made a literal ton of a melted Gruyere for the Today Show in 2007.