Fondue. I Promise!

“I promise!” is what Alden says when he’s trying to convince me to do something. “Chocolate milk mommy? I promise!” I can only think he’s taken my reassurance that he will like some food I want him to try (“You like berries. I promise!”) as a general assertion that the outcome of the desired activity will be favorable for all parties.


“Let me touch you with my chalky hands. I promise!”

Tonight we’re having friends over for fondue and I keep wanting to say, “Fondue, I promise!” because it’s kind of an eye-roll food. I guess it’s the firm association with the skeevy side of the 1970s, like maybe we’ll be throwing our keys into a bowl at the start of the night. But really, you don’t need a Tom Selleck mustache to enjoy. I am actually prepared to go so far as to say it can be lovely in the same manner as a tea ceremony, lots of little bits and pieces and process. I come by this belief because I have a friend who was fortunate enough to be born and raised in Switzerland. He explained to me that everything I thought about fondue was wrong, and that swilling random chunks of bread in a pot of melted cheese is a tragic bastardization.

You need kirsch. It’s a Swiss or French cherry brandy liqueur. It has to be kirsch, because kirsch is not sweet, as opposed to all other cherry brandies (particularly those traditionally served in paper bags, which is what the liquor store lady tried to sell me as a substitute). You need a nice white wine. Not cooking wine. You never need cooking wine for anything, ever. You need Gruyere and emmenthal Swiss cheese (25/75 ratio).

For dipping you need a few lovely types of fresh bread loaves (I like a grainy rye and a sourdough) that have been allowed to sit out overnight for desired consistency. You’ll also want cornichons and cocktail onions. Those sounded weird to me until I tried it. Now I know they’re so wonderful in fondue cheese that my mouth is watering as I type. My Swiss friend also would cut tomatoes into small wedges and then trim out all the innards and serve just the curve of outside flesh. I diverge here a little and serve tiny cherry tomatoes. I love tomato innards and so can’t give them up (Did you know the gel and seeds are called “tomato caviar” by some foodies? It makes perfect sense to describe what I’m talking about, but I can’t bring myself to say it.) You can add any other things to dip that you fancy (tonight I will do small, red-skinned potatoes) but I consider those the basics. Fruit can be a nice addition, as can blanched vegetables.

I’m not against trying clever new versions of fondue. I saw an Irish cheddar and stout version I’m going to make some time soon.

Did I mention Alden refuses to so much as try it? He eats the pickles and dry bread cubes. Ah well, at least I can use a heavy hand with the wine bottle.


Elliot is not sure about these shenanigans.

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18 responses to this post.

  1. I like your upholstery.

    Reply

  2. I like your upholstery.

    Reply

  3. The video is, indeed, auto-playing. Scared the heck out of me at first until I figured out where it was coming from.

    Reply

  4. The video is, indeed, auto-playing. Scared the heck out of me at first until I figured out where it was coming from.

    Reply

  5. Haha, me too. I’d just restarted my browser, and was all, “Ack! Where is that sound coming from?”

    Reply

  6. Oof, so sorry. I thought it must be local to me because it had not happened before. Deleted!

    Reply

  7. It is my mother’s. I will pass on your kind compliment. She goes to great lengths to get her home just so.

    Reply

  8. I also like that kid propped up on it. I like him so much that I’m putting something in the mail to him on Monday. You’ll have to open it for him, though.

    Reply

  9. I am his assistant in most ways on most days. This will be one of my more enjoyable assignments.

    Reply

  10. I’ll see if I can’t make the wrapping especially lovely for your benefit, then.

    Reply

  11. Fondue is a Ramey Family Tradition. And now that I’m a Ramey-Hartung and we have TWO fondue pots in the house, we can have cheese and beef fondue. YUM!
    The last cheese fondue I made was just incredibly good. I think i’m going to get a rye next time – good idea!

    Reply

  12. Fondue is a Ramey Family Tradition. And now that I’m a Ramey-Hartung and we have TWO fondue pots in the house, we can have cheese and beef fondue. YUM!
    The last cheese fondue I made was just incredibly good. I think i’m going to get a rye next time – good idea!

    Reply

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