Family Fondue Night

posted on: Monday, January 24, 2011

Fondue is spontaneous. It's messy and unorganized. It makes you react quickly so the cheese doesn't burn, so the chocolate doesn't get too hard, so the piece of crusty bread that's held by a skinny spear won't dissapear in the pool of melted goodness. Luckily, if that happens and you can't rescue the piece of bread for yourself there is always someone there to help -- fondue calls for good company. It's the ultimate sharing where in order for it to work there needs to be a consensus, often times unspoken and sometimes totally hashed out before hand, about who's turn will be first and how many of the spears can be in the pot at the same time. Fondue is messy, so incredibly messy, to the point where in the end eveyone is cleaning up each other's drops of chocolate on the table, or cheese off their chin, bread crumbs on the floor, and smashed fruit on the chairs.

Fondue is like my family
 no rhyme or reason
but delicious to the core.

Out of necessity Baby Maria eats her fondue in the nude. Out of curiosity and a desire to experience "cold weather" Enzo eats his fondue decked out in snow pants and a thick down jacket. He says his outfit matches the occasion because people eat fondue when it's really coldy outside. I tell him he is right, even though the weather outside marks an exceptional 70* degrees. I want to tease him about how he matches the ocassion because both he and the the food are simultaneously melting at the table. But I hold my tongue. It's family night and family night is about being so super-duper nice so I let out an "I love you Enzo" instead.

Even though both Christian and I have matching moleskine planners and weekly scheduling sessions, we're not really that organized about  pronouncing a certain night of the week as fixed  Family Night. We're still in that early phase of parenting where our kids aren't trying to run off with their friends every chance they get, where we're still the definition of cool and they like spending time with us -- a lot. Sure, it's mostly out of necessity, out of the need to help them put food in their mouths in every sense of the word. But genuinely they enjoy being with us and being with each other, they enjoy being together as a family.

So Family Night is like any night really. Enzo can't help himself and chokes on his food from laughing uncontrollably when he hears us trying to reason with Baby Maria helping her not to go totally beserk on us and throw her plate on the ground. We fail. Watching your parents fail and your baby sister act uncivilized is apparently the Colbert Report for 4 year olds. And then seeing her 4 year old brother laugh because she thew her plate on the ground sets the baby off and she belly laughs her way to the kitchen sink with food coming out of her mouth. It's a mess, where we're all in it together to enjoy.

The only difference between Family Night and just any night is that we say, "hey today is family night" and Enzo jumps up and down and says "YAY Family Night" and Maria goes about her business as usual. It's a night where I decide I'm going to be in a-good-mood-no-matter-what and laugh along with Enzo as we watch Baby Maria rub chocolate on her eye lids and cheese all over her thin baby hair. It's a night where we eat something fun. Together. Fondue! 

O.K, honestly there are a handful of kitchen gadgets I will always try to promote. A fondue pot is one of them. I got mine off Freecyle. You can too! Or you can go on craigslist right now and I gurantee there will be one for sale, because there always is. Or you can find one in a thrift store for sures!  You can borrow mine too if you live close by, but please make yourself a fondue dinner this winter and share with your peeps because it's so seriously great.

I'm going to share my cheese fondue and my chocolate fondue recipes with you. These are simple. They are family friendly, quick recipes you can make even if you decide the fondue pot is a no go. If you're using a regular sauce pan instead, make sure you eat it quick while the contents are still warm otherwise it will not be suitable for dipping. However, cold leftover fondue is the bomb. Thick, cold cheese fondue on toast the next morning is what you wish cream cheese was but never will be, and cold chocolate fondue turns into thick fudge which is perfect for sneaking spoonfuls in throughout the day.

Cheese Fondue
1 clove garlic
300g triple cream brie cheese (weight without rind)
300g grated mozzarella
1 ¼ cup spiced apple cider (or apple juice)
1 Tbsp flour
½ tsp hot mustard
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 French baguette

  1. Cut garlic in half and rub around the inside of the fondue pot.
  2. Add the cheese and 1 cup cider to the fondue pot and place on the stove. Melt the cheese and cider mixture on medium heat while stirring constantly.
  3. Stir flour into ¼ cup cider until fully dissolved then add to the melted cheese and bring back to a boil while stirring and let thicken.
  4. Season with mustard and ground pepper.
  5. Cut the French baguette into cubes and dip into the fondue.
  6. Serve warm.

Chocolate Fondue
100 g milk chocolate
100 g semi-sweet chocolate
100 g heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Melt the chocolate and cream over low heat on the stove top. Add cinnamon and stir.
  2. Prepare fruit by rinsing and peeling. Some of our favorite fruits include strawberries, blueberries, apples, asian pear, and grapes.
Serving Suggestions: For the cheese fondue I like to add salami to my bread and then dip in the cheese. Enzo likes to dip apples in the cheese fondue. I also really like dipping bread into the chocolate fondue. Mix it up, I don't think you can go too wrong with melted cheese and melted chocolate. Experimenting is half the fun. 

I've been researching some fondue variations and, oh my goodness gracious melted imagination check this out... 

Pumpkin Fondue! Does this mean I can FINALLY use Enzo's Halloween pumpkin that is still on top pf the bookshelf or are we really trying to keep it there until next Halloween? If I don't get the green light for using the pumpkin then I'm interested in trying out this fondue in a baked squash.  For my vegan friends here is a vegan fondue variation and for my pizza loving friends here is a pizza fondue that sounds perfect. For dessert there is always the cupcake fondue.

Your turn.
What's your favorite way to eat fondue?

ps. Did you have good weekend? Did you have beautiful summer weather in the middle of January? We did and we had so much fun exploring Monterey. We went to this insane park called Dennis the Menace. Do I need to say more? Then on Saturday night we had a Date Night (also one of those random things we do once in a while with no pattern to it) and had dinner with sweet Amber from Awake at the Whisk and her peeps and Elise from PhD Stides. Group eating makes me happy. I hope you had a lovely weekend full of sunshine (or full of warm down comforters) in the company of people you sincerely enjoy being with.
Happy Monday!


  1. I think fondue in the nude is hilarious! We used to do the traditional meat fondue with my grandparents and aunts on special occasions - such a great way to take time to enjoy your food! I must try these recipes!


Related Posts with Thumbnails