{food} Fall Feast : Fondue

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Let’s Blog Off this week? “So what’s a good Thanksgiving food memory for you? Tell us story about memorable Thanksgivings past or pass along a recipe or two. What’s on your table every year that makes your Thanksgiving yours?”

Fall Feast : Fondue

Thanksgiving is my husband’s favorite Holiday; this and Arbor Day. However, when it came to choosing between Thanksgiving and Christmas for my daughter’s required visitation with her biological father, I wanted her home for Christmas. Needless to say, not having the daughter in her seat at the Thanksgiving table puts a damper on things.  We have also, until recently, lived well away from our families. Thanksgiving was a struggle.

We have been fortunate in having wonderful friends and family who invite us over and provide welcome distractions.  While it isn’t the same, it helps. Still, a Thanksgiving season without a feast that includes our daughter is a sad. So we decided to celebrate another day. And with another meal; one that wouldn’t interfere with the traditional settings we would separately enjoy just days later. Fall Feast was born.

{our 2007 Fall Feast where are guests (all friends and friends of friends) graciously took to the tables left on the floor because of space. the chocolate course was left to the kitchen table for hovering and grazing.}

Fall Feast basically guarantees Fondue. And the ideal Fall Feast not only includes fondue but involves friends and family, of course. We (the three of us) deliberate over our favorite Fondue Recipe Book, The Fondue Cookbook by Gina Steer, and decide on which cheese and which chocolate. This year, we broke tradition and served turkey, cranberry chutney (thanks N!), chilled ratatouille (new-to-us), a “Thanksgiving cheese” fondue w/ crudités, and for dessert homemade pumpkin pie ice cream. Traditionally: we make one or two cheese fondues and one or two chocolates, depending on size of crowd; friends bring: fruit, veggies, bread, and treats to dip.

{our 2006 Fall Feast like 2007 included our friend Sara and a show w/ our dinner. N (shown above) and her friends put on an improvised play after raiding her dress-up gear. }

Sean usually preps the cheese and chocolate. If we’ve a crowd, he will wrangle some poor unsuspecting guest into helping him. I would be at a loss without him. For one, I’ve yet to properly learn, nor develop the patience. I oversee the preparation of the dipping food and social interaction (which N takes over more and more). It is fun when loaves are brought to cube, and apples and broccoli, etc. The kitchen becomes warm and busy with bodies and laughter and snacking and the filling of serving dishes.

Over time we have collected pots and plates and utensils for serving fondue. We continue to learn which cheeses require more time than others. And how much Baileys we can get away with in the chocolate. While we keep recipe-suggested crudités in mind, we have also learned which of our own to add.

Here is our favorite chocolate fondue thanks to Gina Steer’s The Fondue Cookbook. This is one of the simplest and definitely the most pleasing in a diverse crowd:

Luscious Velvety Chocolate Fondue

“It’s rich and decadent–[…] this can be prepared in the pot and served without placing over a lit burner: this will make the fondue even more luscious and wicked, as it thickens up on cooling, giving you more chocolate with each dip” (122).

Serves 6-8 : Prep Time, 5 min. : Cooking Time, 6 min.

**

8 oz Semisweet baking chocolate [Ghiradelli has done the best for us]

1 Cup heavy cream

3 to 4 Tbsp rum or Cointeau [we use Baileys or Kahlua]

1 Tbs Granulated brown sugar, optional [which we option]

**

To Serve: “Amaretti cookies, chocolate chip cookies, strawberries, and banana pieces for dipping.”

we would add/option: granny smith apples, pound cake, brownies, chessman cookies, green grapes, marshmallows, and would note: banana pieces slip off forks and angel food cake disintegrates.

**

Break the chocolate into small pieces, place in the fondue pot, and pour in the cream, [liquor], and sugar if using.

Place over a moderate heat and cook, stirring frequently until melted and thoroughly blended. [Chocolate is more successful in a double boiler. Yep, we had a ceramic break on glass top.]

Carefully transfer the fondue pot to the lit burner and serve with the […] dippers.

[we keep the burner on for most of the dipping, minding the vents.]

**

At our favorite Fondue Restaurant, Mona Lisa in Manitou Springs, Colorado we picked up this lovely Fondue tradition: If you lose an item off your fondue fork in the pot, you must kiss another person. Many prefer doing this with their spouse, so we do not mix seating, nor do we do suggest this when the situation will prove too awkweird.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Joe Freenor says:

    I agree that the best Thanksgivings are those you spend with family, and not having a child present would tear at me too. My wife and I are childless, and are beginning to consider what this holiday will be like in a few years. My parents are long gone, and we lost her mother this year. As a family we have elected to go to Las Vegas rather than cope with that empty kitchen this year, but next year we will have to begin creating new traditions.

  2. Carl V. says:

    That is a really fun idea.

    Thanksgiving really is all about the time you spend with others. For over 20 years now I’ve spent Thanksgiving with Mary’s extended family and this year, I believe, that will be coming to an end. The last of the “old guard” that kept it going died earlier this year and I think after this year’s get together we will break off and do our own more intimate family get togethers in years to come. And I’m really looking forward to that. I loved getting together with my wife’s family all these years, playing touch football after an enormous meal, but it is time to create some of our own traditions with just us, our daughter, and our parents.

  3. Paul Anater says:

    Thanks for this post. I love hearing about other peoples’ traditions and observations of Thanksgiving. I think it’s wonderful how everybody seems to grab this holiday and make it his or her own.

  4. patz1 says:

    “Fall Feast” is a lovely name for a celebration. Hope your Thanksgiving is as happy as possible.

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