I have always maintained that great things happen over dinner, and a cooking class with my dear friend, Jamie, just proved my theory. A couple of weeks ago I booked a night out at Mia Cucina, a culinary store in the North Shore district of Chattanooga. I have heard great things about the classes offered and finally had the time to slip away and enjoy one! Even the most talented of chefs learn new things, so I knew this stay-at-home mom would definitely benefit.
The topic of the evening was fondue parties; such a retro affair for sure, but one that is becoming increasing popular again thanks to restaurants like “The Melting Pot”.
Our instructor for the evening, Amanda Varnell, was full of energy and had a lot of fun sharing recipes and conversation as we lingered over our meal.
verb (used without object)
to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual orexpected, as if from reluctance to leave
to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment
to be tardy in action; delay; dawdle
That summed up our evening. It was one I could’ve enjoyed for another couple of hours, as Jamie and I happily mingled with total strangers over a glass of wine and dinner.
When planning a fondue, the big decision is to decide what you want: just an appetizer course, a main course, or dessert course.
Of course the option to do all three is my favorite!
I will be honest with you, hosting a fondue takes a lot of preparation. Everything needs to be sliced, diced, shredded, and arranged before you sit down to enjoy an evening over food.
|Jamie and I chopping up fresh ingredients for the fondue|
|Amanda whisking up our cooking bouillon|
The most traditional fondue is a cheese fondue. I love dipping fresh french bread, apples, and raw veggies in hot, drippy Jarlsberg and Gruyere cheeses flavored with garlic and wine.
|traditional cheese fondue|
Using the freshest of ingredients really increases the flavor and enjoyment of the meal.
Our second course was the meat courses. We had so many delightful flavors to taste: shrimp, scallops, tilapia, New York strip, chicken breast, tenderloin, and pork loin. I recommend that you make sure no one has seafood allergies before choosing to serve it at your table. You might want to consider using two pots for your fondue, or eliminate the seafood.
Making a dipping sauce or two is a great way to accent the flavors of the meat if you desire. We had a delicious green goddess dip that really set off the vegetables, a spicy cocktail sauce for the seafood, and a teriyaki sauce for the chicken, beef or pork. These are definitely optional, but I recommend using at least one.
|beginning of dessert|
The dessert course was my definite favorite of the evening. Honestly, who wouldn’t like a silky carmel and chocolate fondue to smother your fresh strawberries, marshmallows, rice crispy treats, or pound cake?
And since dessert is most everyone’s favorite course anyway, I thought that I would share the recipe for our scrumptious chocolate fondue we enjoyed.
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is highly recommend)
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup prepared caramel
Place all ingredients in a fondue, heavy bottomed pot or double boiler over low heat. Stir consistently until the mixture is melted and smooth. DO NOT ALLOW TO BUBBLE. Arrange an assortment of bite-sized dipping foods around fondue pot.
If you would like to have more recipes, please let me know and I’ll be glad to share them!
Conversations around food can be magical and having a fondue increases the interaction among those who are dining as well as the amount of time you are spending together. Indeed, a fondue may be “old-fashioned” in some opinions, but I want to host my own, and soon!
What about you, do you fondue?