April 15, 2011

a relaxing fondue night at home

We don't get the opportunity too often so a visit from my mom-in-law deserves a special and fun treat. Fondue always evokes leisure and relaxation with good company sharing a special meal together. I will always think of it as something fun and enjoyable. We decided to get a fondue set not too long after our anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot, a restaurant specializing in fondue. It turned out to be such a memorable dinner that we thought about making it at home. It may have lost it's appeal through the years, after all, it was back in the 60's when it reached the peak of its popularity.  Fondue sets have long been pushed to the back of most kitchen cabinets or given away to thrift shops. It's good to know that the Melting Pot has been successful in bringing the experience back. We rarely bring our set out but once in awhile, the thought of that awesome melted stringy Swiss cheeses keeps coming back to haunt us :-) My mom-in-law's visit was a perfect time for us to have fondue at home once again. I think we have to make it a tradition now and bring out the fondue set everytime she's here. I don't think I will get any negative votes on that :-)

(1) the set-up for the first course or appetizer (2) vegetable and meat plates with bite-size chicken and beef pieces (3) cubes of whole wheat baguette and chewy artisan bread ready to be dipped in the melted cheese, a combination of two flavorful Swiss cheeses, emmental and gruyere ~ the cheese melted perfectly and we were happily dipping chunks of whole wheat baguette in the hot and stringy cheese (4) my plate with a baguette cube dipped in melted cheese.

(1) for the main course, I followed the recipe for coq au vin in the Melting Pot cookbook which mixes burgundy wine with thinly sliced button mushrooms, finely chopped vegetables (onion, celery, green onions and carrots) seasoned with salt and pepper. Cubes of fresh chicken tenderloins and ribeye steak along with mushroom and bell pepper chunks were set on the table ready to cook (2) proper fondue ettiquette suggests making use of color-coded fondue forks so diners can easily identify which belongs to them and keep track of what they're cooking.

For the finale and last course, there's always room for dessert :-) We decided on a white chocolate butterscotch sauce which I found in the Melting Pot cookbook. It was hard to stop eating the fresh fruits dipped in the sweet mixture of butterscotch and white chocolate. I would say our fondue night at home was a success. The prep work may be labor intensive but some of the steps like grating the cheese and making the sauces may always be done ahead. Fondue will always be a special dining experience for me and it's worth the effort.

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