Fondue Holidays

So what do you do when you live thousands of miles from family during most holidays? Our answer is fondue.

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It just does not make sense to make a whole turkey and all the sides for the two of us for one day. So we have tried to go out to eat for Thanksgiving the past few years.

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Last year we went to a more upscale buffet with carving stations, but it was beyond crowded and even with a reservation we were seated 2 hours late. On top of that, the restaurant was completely decked-out for Christmas. It’s little hard to enjoy turkey and the harvest season when your staring as a mechanical santa pops in and out of a chimney.

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So this year we have decided to stay in and make fondue. We have done fondue as our annual new years tradition since our first year of marriage. That first year we did fondue in a double broiler on a camp stove.

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The cheese was pasty (more flour than cheese) and the chocolate runny. For more on this see my blog post “a cheesy new years tradition”.

Since then we have done a major upgrade, learned about our ingredients, and bought ourselves a fondue pot.

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For Halloween we decided to have a grown-up Halloween party by having pumpkin gluten free beer cheddar fondue served with green apples, celery, grapes, salami, and bread. Then we made dark chocolate with orange liquor dip for bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers and strawberries. Since we live out in the country, no children come to us to get candy so we took the time to enjoy old Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. It was fun.

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For Thanksgiving we plan to make a white wine artichoke and spinach cheese fondue with green olives, apples, bread, salami, and mushrooms for dipping. And for dessert we will make a dark chocolate fondue with dark rum and similar fruits and treats as Halloween.

So no turkey for us, but don’t worry we will be full, happy, and thankful for our warm fall, our dog, and cheese.

Hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!

A “Cheesy” New Years Tradition

While Luke and I were dating we went to two fondue places and love it both times. But fondue can be expensive and our closest fondue place is in Rochester, an hour and forty-five minutes away. So last year for New Years Eve we decided to start a new tradition: making fondue at home.

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We bought a basic bottle of white and red wine then went to Wegmans to get nicer cheeses and chocolate to melt. Because we had the day to ourselves, we took our time prepping goodies to dip . For our creamy  white wine cheesy fondue we cut up  tart apples, grapes, mushrooms, broccoli, pita bread, pumpernickel bread, and celery.

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This year’s fondue cheeses
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2014’s fondue dipped goods

After making the fondue last year we decided the breads were too crumby for the hot cheese and that I am not a fan of raw broccoli but everything else tasted great. So this year we used heartier crackers, cut cubes from our own homemade bread, and exchanged green peppers for broccoli.

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Last year for our  rich red wine chocolate fondue we used marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, shortbread cookie pieces, and cheesecake bites.

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After making the chocolate fondue last year we decided the shortbread cookies was too soft and melted and that Luke is not a fan of marshmallows. Last year I had made cheesecake for Christmas /New Years day dessert so I  cut up the leftovers from the freezer.

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This year I made cheesecake balls coated in graham cracker crumbs. I dipped some in white chocolate for the New Years Eve party then froze the rest for fondue.  We didn’t use bananas this year but we did keep the  marshmallows for me, which just meant more cheesecake for Luke.

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We do not own a fondue set but we have a double boiler. Last year we put hot water in the bottom pan of the double boiler and melted our cheese/chocolate in the top pan. This worked pretty well except for one issue: if we removed the cheese fondue from the stove heat then it would begin to harden almost immediately. So we ended up eating our fondue on stools huddled around the stove top of the oven.

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This year Luke dipped into his camping gear to find a burner we could put on the table to use with our double boiler. It’s another temporary solution but it’s better than last year. And let’s just say we already have a item on our Christmas list for 2014: a nice fondue set.

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And what else did we do for our holiday other than eat food? Play Luke’s favorite Christmas present Firefly: the board game yes . . . it’s complicated and nerdy and. . . it’s a lot of fun.

Hope you all had a fun New Year’s Day!!