Switzerland: Fondue Party

For those of you who have had the pleasure of celebrating a birthday with me, you likely know that there is a very special birthday tradition in my family for my special day – fondue. As long as I can remember my family and I would gather my grandparent’s house and have a wonderful evening full of yummy food cooked tableside and presents (really, you can’t beat that).

When the weather started to turn to fall, Matt and I knew it was time to bring out the recipes and ideas we’d been saving for cooler weather. One of those was Swiss fondue. For me, fondue brings up memories of fun and family time gathered together eating tiny morsels dipped in cheese, oil, and chocolate. Much to my surprise, the only Swiss aspect of my family’s tradition was the cheese part.

For your reference, oil fondue is Japanese and chocolate fondue is French.

I wasn’t giving up the fondue with my DC family idea, so in addition to traditional Swiss cheese fondue, we looked for several other Swiss dishes and delicacies to snack on.

This was a hard task considering fish was not something we would be preparing, but diligent internet research came through for the win again. In addition to the fondue, we made a potato tort hash brown called Rosti. This potato dish commonly served in the German region of Switzerland has its roots in German immigrants.

I got to work on the potato thing. I usually am a master at making hash browns and breakfast potatoes but I made a fatal error in deciding to use our aluminum [is that the right word?]. After not flipping properly, I switched to a non-stick pan and was able to save the dish. This basically turned out like a giant hash brown or latke. It was good, but oily (my fault, possibly?), there weren’t any leftovers though so it much have gone well with the cheese.

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After we got the potatoes sizzling away, I started the cheese fondue on the stop top. After my grandmother passed away, I asked my mom to send me the fondue pots we use to eat out of at her house. So the two pots we used were antiques. Despite their age, they help up well to the cheese and the sterno.

Instead of opting for a fondue recipe, we took a short cut and purchased an already mixed packet of made in Switzerland cheese fondue. While we may have missed grating the cheese (I kid), the packets tasted just like I remember and had personally made from scratch in the past (who knew!).

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Typically only bread is served with traditional Swiss fondue so bread was all we served with ours. Honestly, the veggies and other dippers were not missed.

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Possibly the most exciting treat of the evening came from a Swiss bakery Matt found in Virginia. On one of his days off earlier in the week Matt drove out to the bakery and brought back two traditional Swiss pastries, St. Mortiz Nut Tart and Birenweggen.

The Birenweggen was rolled like a Swiss roll with cinnamon and nuts inside a thick and doughy crust.

 

The St. Moritz nut tart was a caramel pie-type dessert. It was sweet and salty and you couldn’t eat but a few bites at a time.

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Both we’re a great end to our cheese fondue and rosti.

Enjoying fondue as the Swiss enjoy it was a nice change but I think the next time we pull out the antique pots I’ll stick with my tradition, if anything because it’s a bit healthier.

-Bridget

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