It’s a Fondue Holiday! Growing up Swiss-German-Canadian, a delicious hot Swiss fondue is one of my all-time favourite dinners, and it was such a treat to do this today, on Boxing Day. If you’ve ever had a fondue, you know that it’s more of an experience than a meal. A glass of wine, conversation, and the slow stirring and savouring of the melted cheese and the bread.
As we ate and talked, the white Christmas snow was falling outside, the white tree lights were on, and we were stirring the hot cheese over the flame with large bites of bread on long forks. Thick, creamy cheese with a flavour of white wine and Kirsch, in a thick Swiss ceramic pot over a small flame. You could almost close your eyes and imagine there were snowy mountains outside.
The cheese we use is Appenzell, Emmental and Gruyère with Kirsch and white wine mixed in. 1/3 cup of each cheese melted together. This mix is the best flavour I know, and anytime I taste this, I am immediately brought back to every Fondue dinner we had growing up. Usually for special occasions and guests, but every so often just for our immediate family. And this year for Christmas: a candle, three wisemen, tiny wrapped chocolates, and the fondue dish in the centre of our table.
The Appenzell cheese, along with our fondue set comes from Appenzell, a village in northeastern Switzerland, at the foot of the Alpstein mountain. This very beautiful village sits close to St. Gallen. We used to bring this cheese back from Switzerland or receive it in a parcel for Christmas. I can still remember the parcels, wrapped in brown paper, with so many stamps (my mom and Opa were stamp collectors), and always tied in four ways with twine. Today we cheated just a tiny bit, and bought a Swiss cheese mixed locally. It did not disappoint.
I have tried chocolate fondues, and hot oil and meat fondues, but cheese remains my all-time love.
What is your favourite meal for the holidays? What do you remember celebrating in your growing up years, according to your culture, nationality, geography, and traditions? I would love to hear more in the comments below.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays and I hope (if you haven’t already) that someday soon, you can enjoy a festive Fondue.