Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fondue Will Do

...but Sartre is smarter??? (reference joke here)

First of all, a huge thank you to those who provided such thoughtful comments on my last post about wedding woes.  All of your stories were so fun to read.  We think we've  made a decision, but that can wait for another time. ;)


A few weeks ago, my friends came over to help use christen the lonely fondue kit (and three-tier tray).

Tier 1: carrots/celery
Tier 2: (banh mi) baguette bread
Tier 3: mini pretzels and more bread... plus some salami hidden in the back

Some Private Selection BBQ chicken thin crust pizza served as an appetizer while the fondue was being prepared.  These pizzas are kind of small, although it's not a "single-serve" pizza.  One of my guests pretty much annihilated the pizza within a few minutes.

So I used a generic fondue recipe that contained garlic, gruyere and swiss cheeses, cornstarch, and cooking wine.  Since I was being cheap, I used a gruyere+cheddar blend, which worked well, except I think it made the whole thing a touch on the salty side.  Why don't I ever learn when not to skimp??

Other items on the table included this caramel goat cheese from the farmer's market in San Francisco:

And this white balsalmic jelly from the House of Balsamic.  If you love balsamic in your sandwiches but not the feel of soggy bread, this is the perfect solution.  My friends enjoyed sampling it on baguettes.

We also dipped bread in orange balsamic... also from the House of Balsamic.  I can't wait to try it in a salad!  The flavor was lightly cirtus-y and not too sour like some balsamics can be.

After the "main course" (which was mostly bread, as you can tell by the pictures), we moved on to the dessert phase.

Most chocolate fondue recipes require milk, butter, or heavy cream, but we forewent all of that and just dumped 50% dark chocolate chips and 50% milk chocolate chips into the boiler and went for it.

I cleaned and refilled the trays.

Tier 1: apples and strawberries
Tier 2: shortbread cookies (homemade--see below), bacon (!)
Tier 3: more strawberries, cubed pumpkin bread and pannetone

The strawberries, were the most classic and best-tasting.

I got a bit crafty and baked some shortbread cookies.  I combined the dough (pretty much just sugar,butter, flour, and vanilla extract) the night before and rolled it into a log, which I cut the next day and baked for 15 minutes (probably too long in retrospect). 

I topped some with lavender sugar from Ticings, which had blown me away at Foodbuzz Festival.  Unforunately, the flavor didn't come through once baked, so I really should have just used it for the strawberries.  I topped the other cookies with some green+white sprinkles, also from Ticings, but they seemed to change color in the oven.

My friends liked the cookies and told me that when topped with chocolate, it tasted like one of those expensive cookies at natural grocers.  I took it as a compliment!

We enjoyed all of this with beer and wine.  This wine glass is special because I earned it from a race, and I gave it to "The Ukrainian" the day he asked me to be his girlfriend.

This was actually not a very expensive or labor-intensive way to treat my friends to a nice dinner.  They left half-dazed and in a nice food coma, so I think I did my job correctly.

FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples from the House of Balsamic and Ticings to try but was not otherwise compensated to provide any particular opinion.  I was also sent a sample of Private Selection products from BzzAgent to provide a review but not compensated.


  1. We've done fondue a few times with friends - either out at restaurants or at home - and it's always fun because it's more about the experience and less about the food.

    Excited to hear about the wedding/non-wedding decision!

  2. That's a fancy fondue set! Ours is a very basic pot with skewers!

  3. I usually don't do fondue (cow dairy issue and i don't really eat meat), but the carmel goat sauce from SF farmer's market looks AMAZING -- which one did you get it at?!

  4. Im pretty basic, so fondue doesn't really play any part of my life, but would like to try it out sometime. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience. Take care. Doing any running?

  5. I love love fondue! All the other goodies looks delicious too, one better then the next. Going to have track some of those down.

  6. OhMaGosh - what a fun idea. I love fondue, especially cheese fondue (this is why going to the Melting Pot is a BAD idea for me...lol). I want to steal this idea for my next party ;)