Please wait, the site is loading...

The Strictly Come Dancing host dips into the memory of an early date with her husband-to-be. 

I am a big believer in hot food. I find summer a sort of disgrace, mainly because I am never going to want a salad or a piece of fennel or a small tart with beetroot in it. I also have a love affair with cheese, it is my life. I could talk about it until your ears bleed. When I was about 25, Kris, my later-to- be-husband, took me out for a meal in a Swiss restaurant, in London (definitely not Switzerland – we could just about afford Tube fare at that stage).

It was probably our fifth or sixth date. It was a cold night, which I love. I love winter clothes, I like it getting dark at four, I like twinkly lights, pubs. I don’t really like the outdoors or sunlight, my body no longer recognises the sun and can only cope with tan if it is in a bottle. I like big boots, socks, skinny jeans, an oversize sweater. So that was what I wore that November night. December is the sexiest month but November is not far off.

So we tumbled in, the sleet fell off our shoulders, everything candlelit around us. It was quite noisy, but that is cute on a date because you don’t have to fill in all the natural gaps. As I recall it might possibly have been a comedy restaurant – people were in lederhosen. Kris said: ‘Have you had fondue?’ I didn’t quite hear and slightly panicked. But then it all became clear and we were off. I remember being led to the table and sitting down next to a Bunsen burner – I thought maybe we were doing some kind of science lesson.

But then they brought out the hot cheese in a bowl and chunks of bread to put in it. We were talking, flirting, the cheese was bubbling. I found the whole thing magical. Hot cheese is deeply erotic... heady. I think there was alcohol in it. It was shiny and it gleamed in the candlelight. You put the bread on quite a dangerous skewer and then you do the twirling motion. It was singularly the greatest taste sensation of my life. All this time you are drinking very cold beer.

I am not very good at drinking but have always thought that, if I was, I would be the kind of person who drinks a bottle of beer because it looks cool. I think you aren’t really supposed to eat the whole thing, but by the end I had the whole pot over my head as I was shaking out every last bit of a cheese. I was not chic. For pudding we had supersoft chocolate mousse. By the way, I would never have chocolate fondue. Because it is not cheese. It was a very romantic evening.

There is some theatre in fondue, not the sort of theatre where somebody fillets a seabass in front of you or arrives with a tower of seafoam, that wouldn’t be my thing. But it’s a treat. I think I have only had fondue about three times since. When something is so magical, like an amazing concert or a great kiss, you can’t try and replicate it. If I do have it again, it wouldn’t have to be with my husband: I am happy to be unfaithful in terms of fondue.

And I swear that if I marry again it will be to a piece of Gorgonzola. My husband, luckily, is also a very big fan of cheese. And so when our son came home from school one day – he was 14, the age when they get involved all those clubs like Dungeons & Dragons or geography – and said he and his mate had started a cheese appreciation society, well, we knew we’d got things right. When I say cheese, his favourites are Babybel and Dairylea...

Claudia Winkleman’s new observations-on-life book Quite is published in hardback by HQ HarperCollins, £16.99. Also available in eBook and audiobook. 

 

About the author

Kerry Fowler

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years