Merry Christmas to everyone! The holiday season is my favorite time of year and Christmas Eve happens to be my favorite part. My family has a tradition of hosting a fondue party every Christmas eve. Lots of dipping, eating and having fun.
And any Frei family holiday would be complete without a lot of red wine spilling. This year was no exception:
Fondue? Don’t mind if I do! I love fondue – I think it might be because I am a sauce person. I am obsessed with sauces. Fondue is the only meal I can think of where you dip every course and every bite. In the words of Lustopher Hardy – “A little bit of heaven”.
We generally setup the fondue around my parent’s kitchen island, which promotes lots of socializing.
Even Mavie (who has severe IBS (not joking) and is not allowed people food) tried to get a piece of yumminess.
For those of you not familiar with fondue, we have three courses for the party:
Easy to remember since it is the three basic food groups .
I am sure some of you will be able to relate to this, but all of our family’s Christmas recipes have been around for so many years that they are stored in this little messy handwritten card holder my mom keeps.
I love looking through all these recipes every year. I even found a couple of Tomato Aspics (sick). We don’t make that anymore. My favorite was this recipe written on a Goodyear Tire notepad. Hehe.
Here are the fondue recipes.
Don’t worry, I retyped them .
The Cheese Course
As previously mentioned, the night begins with the cheese fondue. I really could just have this course and be fine for the rest of the night. It is sooo freaking good. I have seen people make cheese fondue with many different types of cheeses and ingredients. We never stray from the traditional. Why fix what ain’t broken?
Important note: When eating the cheese you must be careful. It has been said that if you drop your piece of bread or fruit into the cheese you must kiss the person next to you. Generally, this gets a little strange because I am usually eating fondue with my family.
Traditional Cheese Fondue (Adapted from handwritten recipe circa 1972 by Pam Frei)
½ Pound freshly grated Emmentaler Swiss Cheese
½ Pound freshly grated Le Gruyere Cheese (Do not use processed Gruyere. The year we tried the processed is the same year we tried the chocolate fountain. It will forever be known as the year of the fondue failure and subsequently the year without a Santa Claus)
1.5 Cups Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1.5 Teaspoons Cornstarch
1 Garlic clove halved
½ Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and White Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons Kirsch Cherry Liquor
Loaf of French bread cubed
2 Apples cubed
Roasted potatoes for dipping (optional)
Rub garlic on inside of large pot with two forks.
Remove garlic solids. Add white wine and lemon juice and heat over medium heat. Heat till air bubbles rise but to not boil. Whisk in cornstarch so there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low. Add a handful of cheese.
When cheese is melted add another handful. Do not boil. Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and Kirsch. The Kirsch adds great flavor. At this point, we add the cheese mixture to a crockpot on high, so it doesn’t burn. Use fondue sticks to dip.
The Meat Course
The meat course is a little different because the eater is actually cooking their own meat.
There are fondue pots (we have 3-4) of heated beef bouillon and red wine (one year we experimented with peanut oil) and over the years we have tried the different combinations of the following:
Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Steak (cut into chunks)
Chicken (cut into chunks and generally marinated)
Salmon (cut into chunks)
Heat the following over a stove until boiling and add to fondue pot.
2 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Cup Red Wine
We like to use Sterno, not tealights, as a heat source. Otherwise, it doesn’t get hot very fast.
Now for the dipping sauces – I try to make these the day prior to the party:
Sweet and Sour (my personal favorite)
½ cup Apricot Preserves
¼ cup Catsup (this cracks me up! Anyone know the difference between catsup and ketchup?)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons Major Grey’s Chutney
Heat all ingredients until it reaches a simmering stage.
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/3 Cup mayonnaise
1.5 Tablespoons prepared mustard (the French’s kind. Not the Dijon)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon horseradish
Combine all ingredients and mix well
Blue Cheese Dressing Sauce
This can easily be used as salad dressing to.
¾ Cup sour cream
½ Teaspoon dry mustard
½ Teaspoon salt
½ Garlic clove minced
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ Cup mayonnaise
3 Oz. Crumbled blue cheese
Combine all ingredients with the exception of blue cheese in a large bowl. Mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Slowly add blue cheese and blend 4 more minutes. Refrigerate 24 hours prior to serving.
We take a shortcut and use Yoshida!
The Chocolate Course
I am usually so stuffed at this point that I can barely walk, but I always make room for just a bit more since the chocolate is so good. Our recipe is super simple but really yummy!
2 Large bars of Symphony Chocolate with Toffee Bits – This stuff is the best and adds a little extra crunch
½ Cup Whipping Cream
2 ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Heat chocolate and whipping cream over double boiler over low heat. Stir until melted. Transfer to chocolate fondue pot.
We have this super cute hot fudge warmer thing we use:
Use any combination of the following:
Pound Cake (bite size)
Cheesecake (bite size)
Leftover holiday cookies
At this point in the party I am generally ready to pass out since I am so full.
I hope you have all have a wonderful Christmas! I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions. Please post them in the comment section.
Be safe, be merry and eat & drink with reckless abandon! You can work it off later!
PS. I wish Mr. Barrera could have been here! Hope you are having fun in b-town!