I was going to make this for a couple of friends one night last week, but we had to cancel. I’ll make it for them again when we reschedule if they want me too, but I couldn’t wait to try this again and see if I liked it as much as the last time I made it (I did).
This recipe comes from an old (original printing 1950; my version 1963) Helen Evans Brown chafing dish cookbook that I purchased as part of a set of three little books by her that was published by The Ward Ritchie Press. I found the set in a used bookstore some time ago. The recipe is so elegantly simple: just butter, champagne and cheese. I love the old cookbooks where the author really knows how to romance her recipes. Here it is just as it appears in the book:
This recipe is to a Queen’s taste, as it was said to have been Victoria’s own. She, the story goes, made it with her own plump hands for her beloved Albert. Put the chafing dish over hot water and melt “a butter ball” (2 tablespoons of butter) in it. Add 1/2 pound of rich grated Cheddar and 1/4 cup of champagne. Also a touch of salt. Stir while cooking slowly, and as soon as melted serve with toast and, of course, champagne.
You don’t need a chafing dish to make this dish, a saucepan or fondue pot will do. I never add salt either. It’s so good though. You’d think it might be too rich, but the bubbly seems to lighten it somehow and the pairing of the wine with the cheese is just right. Why not follow Victoria’s lead and make it for someone you love. And if you follow my lead, that might just be you. Enjoy!