I entered an online recipe contest through World Food Championships, hoping for a Golden Ticket to compete in the 2020 World Food Championship competition to be held in Dallas in November. Food sport competitions are all the rage and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

One of my entries is this beer fondue recipe using Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad Ale. I love fondue. I love being able to use different veggies or fruits or breads or meats as the vehicle to get the cheese from the pot to my mouth. Do you fondue?

Boulevard Barrel Aged Quad Fondue


  • 4 cups grated cheese* (Gruyere, Emmenthaler, raclette, Gouda, Havarti) room temperature- not cold
  • 1/4 cup flour (may substitute with corn starch)
  • 1 cup Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad Ale
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (fresh, at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon each Fiesta onion and garlic powder.
  • Optional-fresh or dry herbs (to taste)


  1. In a bowl combine grated cheese with the flour until well coated. Set aside to bring up to room temperature about 15 minutes.
  2. While cheese is warming up on the counter-Add the beer to a 2-3 quart sauce pan and bring it to gentle simmer over medium heat. (If you want to flavor with the garlic, onion and/or any herbs (1/2 to 1 tsp) add these to the beer- the acidity and alcohol will dissipate the flavors.)
  3. After the beer has simmered for 3 minutes add heavy cream & simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from the heat and fold in the cheese, stirring gently and working in batches(divide the cheese into 3 to 4 handfuls). You might need to place the pan back on the warm stove to keep the cheese melting- stove should be on the lowest setting of heat for this. Careful to not overheat because it will easily burn.
  5. Transfer to a heated fondue pot and serve.


-Generally about 4 oz of semi-hard (good melting) cheese will yield 1 cup of shredded cheese. If you are using a combination of two cheeses (recommended) make sure you have at least 8 oz of each.

-Have your dipping foods cut in bite-sized pieces and ready to serve ahead of time. If your begins to thicken in the fondue pot, add a tablespoon or two of cream and gently stir to thin it out. 


Upon adding the heavy cream to the beer in the sauce pan it could curdle even though this is not common. Here is how to avoid curdling:

  • Do not use beer that is too acidic, Dopplebocks, bocks American/Mexican and German lagers work well. Wheat beers and malty ales are a good bet also.
  • Be sure to not use 1/2 &1/2! You need the fat content of the heavy cream to keep from curdling.
  • Be sure that the heavy cream hasn’t been sitting longer than a few days – acid begins to form in the cream as it sits and oxidizes & cause curdling.
  • Less heat is more- Don’t add cream to beer that is too hot. Gentle simmer is all you need, don’t boil your beer!!

Fon-do’s and Fon-don’ts

Do: Add acid (like dry white wine) if the fondue gets a little clumpy.

A little word on “Clumping”: This is what happens when your fundue looks like you mixed in some cottage cheese and has the clumpy effect. Depending on the cheeses used, your fondue might be “stringy” and look like the cheese in a pizza commercial-this isn’t good either. So what will assist in keeping your fondue creamy and smooth? This is where adding a dry white wine or lemon juice for acidity or even in a pinch a splash of rice wine vinegar (amount will vary depending on the recipe, I use 1/4 tsp at a time). A splash of acid helps to bind the calcium in the cheese, this dilution also prevents the proteins from the “clump”…and clumping is bad.

Do: Use the right type of cheese.

Hard cheeses won’t melt to the right consistency for a good dip. Try a softer cheese like Swiss, Fontina, Gruyere, Emmental, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack, which have a higher moisture content. Also, for best fondue flavor, blend two or more types of cheeses for depth and complexity.

Do: Bring cheese to room temperature.

Bringing the cheese to room temp softens the cheese – slowly – on it’s way to reaching melting point. This step is important because sudden extreme temperature change is likely to cause the cheese to clump or break and become oily.

Do: Grate the cheese first.

Since blocks of cheese melt differently, grating the cheese allows for even heat to permeate, thus making the melting process smoother and easier. It also speeds up the cook time so you can get to the best part… eating it!

Do: Add starch to the fondue.

Flour or cornstarch works against clumps or strings, keeping the proteins from clumping and the fats from separating out.

Do: Use low heat.

As best fondue practice, melt cheese very gradually on low, even heat. This will prevent any separation of fats in the melting cheeses. Adding a handful at a time, incorporate shredded cheese until melted.

Don’t: Boil cheese.

Make sure the cheese doesn’t boil. Heat and melt slowly. But once melted, move it to the fondue pot, which keeps warm at low temperature.

Don’t: Stir too vigorously.

Over-stirring could allow the proteins to bond and create a stringy or clumpy texture-remember “clumpy” is bad.

Don’t: Let cheese cool!

Serve immediately! Once removed from the stove, the cheese will begin to cool. When melted cheese begins to get firm again it’s likely to clump… remember “clumpy” is bad!

Do: Serve a variety of “dipping things”.

Traditional dipping vessels include cubed or hand torn crusty bread or soft pretzels. I like blanched veggies like broccoli florets, asparagus tips, or carrots. Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples work well with stronger cheese flavors. Also try different cooked meats or even homemade french fries.

Elote is one of my favorite summer dishes. The fresh corn is at its sweetest. Adding char to the corn gives it a depth of flavor that can’t be beat. Of course, I like to dude-out and use a small blow torch on the corn. (When I’m cooking for a crowd, I get out Senior Fuego the big propane torch and take care of charring the corn in short order.) The crema or sour cream lends a creamy consistency. Using multiple cheeses gives added texture and flavor to the dish.  Cotija is salty; queso fresco is mild with smooth texture; and manchego adds a flavor similar to parmesan. You could also add monterrey jack cheese in lieu of some of the cheeses. With this dish, as long as you have the corn and sour cream, you can use whatever cheeses you want or have on hand and the dish will turn out great.

4 ears of fresh corn, husks and silk removed

6 month manchego cheese, grated

1 cup sour cream or crema

¾ cup cotija cheese, grated

¾ cup queso fresca, crumbled

1 teaspoon hatch green chile powder

I like to char the corn on the cob with a blow torch. If you don’t have a blow torch, lightly grill the corn until just barely blackened. Be careful not to over heat the corn because it will start to pop and splatter. Cut corn off the cob. Mix with remaining ingredients. Place in oven-safe baking dish in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, just until melted together and slightly brown on top.

I love figs because the sweet, light flavor and delicate texture lends itself to a nonassuming addition to all sorts of dishes from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. So whatever you plan to make, there’s a type of fig for every application. I love figs when they are in season. We used to have the most awesome fig tree that would produce a month’s worth of fresh, homegrown figs. Because the birds like figs too, we’d have to get up early to pick the ripe ones every morning. In fact, at times we would pick the one that were almost-ripe just to keep the birds from getting them. Having so many figs, we’d make fig preserves, and fig appetizers, and fig desserts, and fig sauces, and fig everything we could think of.

I created this dish to be the-most-perfect-dish, combining all of the things I love into one little cast iron skillet – cheese, balsamic vinegar, and figs in season in the wood-fired oven. Oh and blueberries… how can I forget those luscious little bombs! The cheese in this receipe is called Chaumes – it’s a French cows milk cheese, similar to Brie but a little firmer, that’s slightly aged for a couple of weeks. The flavor of the cheese is complex with a slightly nutty aftertaste. The blueberry, honey, and balsamic create a deep, rich flavor to bring the figs and cheese together for a wonderfully delicious one-bite appetizer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen blueberries

4 brown turkey figs, sliced in half

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Honey

8 slices Chaumes cheese

1 tablespoon Grana Padano parmesan, grated

Yuzu Glaze

8 ounces Yuzu sauce

2 ounces Balsalmic vineagar

3 finger-length strips sliced Valencia orange rinds

2 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger

Coat the bottom of a small oven safe skillet with olive oil, then place blueberries in the skillet. Position fig halves in the blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup and honey. Roast in 500-degree oven for 5-7 minutes until blueberries burst.

To make the Yuzu Glaze, combine yuzu sauce, balsamic, orange rinds, and fresh ginger in small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half.

Remove pan from oven and place cheese slices on each fig half, then sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the pan. Set the oven to broil and place rack 6-8 inches from the top.  Put pan back in oven and broil for 45 seconds to 1 minute until cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and drizzle yuzu glaze over figs.