The holidays can be so overwhelming: trying to find the perfect gift; having the house decorated perfectly; impressing out of town guests or even worse going home to show how perfect your are. It does frustrate me endlessly that so much focus is put on the materialistic and perfect rather than just enjoying friends and family for who they are and not what your perfect vision wants them to be. And that’s what I hope my Christmas Eve meal can do just for you– the very nature of fondue is communal eating in a very imperfect way.
Despite being newlyweds this isn’t our first Christmas away from home or family. It can be a little weird when its just three (my brother in law is stationed near us) and you all grew up in big chaotic families. But being together and mixing traditions really helps make that melting pot magic come alive. We’re able to mix in different flavor profiles in the cheese, dippers and drinks. And the very nature of fondue makes everyone sit a little closer and participate in the meal together.
There are a million fondue recipes and of course perfection will sneak in, so anticipate a wild goose chase for some kind of bread that apparently no one carries around Christmas (pumpernickel in my case). Choose something that speaks to you. This year I went super traditional (we do eat fondue a couple of times a year so I am no longer intimidated; funny to think that I ever was in the first place) with a swiss fondue of gruyere and emmental (if my normal grocery stores have this, then yours will too) and dippers of sourdough, rye, and rustic breads and then roasted potatoes, fresh green apples, fresh carrots, and lightly blanched broccoli.
I skipped the kirsch, as we didn’t have any of that or brandy. You’ll also want to let the bread dry out a little bit, maybe cube it earlier in the day, so it can carry more cheese. C’mon folks, you can never get enough cheese on your dipper. The need for perfectness melted away as we ate. We enjoyed each other’s company on Christmas. We had a great time fishing the dropped dippers out and seeing the length of cheese one could get. It’s fondue, you’re supposed to play with your food. I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect.