It's Fun to Fondue

One of my most memorable Christmases spent with David was the first year we lived in Houston. It involved a fancy buffet with tons of great food. And a cheese fondue bar. Where I spent all of my calories for the day. Since then, no other Christmas dinner has lived up to this standard; we have not been able to find a Christmas dinner with fondue, short of visitng The Melting Pot, which is not quite my idea of a nice Christmas dinner.

I was absolutely thrilled when David's mom brought along her fondue cookbook and pot, both from 1968. A bona fide hippie fondue pot! She cooked up a great fondue (recipe below) and a huge salad and I was one happy girl.

Fondue Suisse
from "It's Fun to Fondue"

1 pound aged Swiss cheese, finely diced (shredded cheese does not melt properly)
3 tablespoons flour
1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons kirsch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Place cheese in a bowl, sprinkle with flour and mix lightly.

Rub inside of fondue pot with garlic halves until well-flavored then discard garlic.

Pour wine into pot and place over low heat until bubbles start rising to the surface. Do not boil!

Add cheese by handfuls, constantly stirring with a wooden fork or spoon until cheese is melted. Be sure each handful is melted berfore you add the next. After last of cheese has been added and mixture begins to bubble, quickly add kirsch and seasoning, stirring until blended.

More tips from the cookbook:
The cheese required for this fondue is a well-matured Switzerland Swiss cheese. American Swiss, while tasty, is rarely mature enough to make a good fondue. Suggested wines include Reisling and Chablis. If your fondue mixture starts to become too thick, it can be thinned with a little more pre-heated wine.

Each person should spear his or her bread cube, piercing through the crust last. The dipper should then be stirred through the fondue in a figure-eight motion. As all diners continue dipping, the fondue is constantly stirred.

Whoops - who dropped the bread cube into the fondue? He must give a kiss to the friend of his choice. For the person who never lost a bread cube, there's another certain prize: the crusty cheese in the bottom of the pot!