serve fondue if you want to have a parté

one time, when my kitchen was humming with a group around the fondue pot– talking, laughing, and eating up the creamy appetizer– one friend suggested, "let's just bring it to the table for dinner and put it right in front of me". and, another time i served it, a girlfriend said, "since we're such good friends, i think it's ok if we double dip, don't you?"

a classic pleaser– whenever i'm not sure what to serve, i get out the fondue pot and add friends. it makes a party every time.

maybe it's that fondue awakens a primal life experience in our genetic synapse: sharing a meal together around an open fire. comforting in a basic way, it's simple, warm, nourishing, and we each get a chance, one at a time, to dunk our selected morsels . . . a little like children, awaiting our turn . . . sometimes it's still fun to play with our food.

this basic recipe can be adapted to any kind of cuisine by varying the spices. i changed it up from the swiss version because i'm not a big fan of kirsch & i also never have it. i usually serve fondue with mushrooms, olives, salami, and homemade flat bread or tortillas, cherry tomatoes, and peppers if i'm serving a mexican entree. and, fondue with little cubes of homemade bread, a salad & bottle of wine is the perfect dinner on a sunday evening.

• about 1 cup of vegetable stock
• 1/4 of a med. onion, minced
• 1 minced clove of garlic
• 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour
• about 3/4 cup of dry white wine
• several pinches of oregano & rosemary / or dill & mustard / or cumin & chipotle chili powder, etc.
• 2 kinds of grated cheese: fontina & mascarpone / or gruyere & emmental / or cheddar & jack, etc.

heat the vegetable stock over a medium-high flame in a sauce pan with curved sides. cook the onion & garlic until softened and aromatic. lower the flame to low, whisk in the flour and wine and simmer until thickened. add the spices and cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted and creamy.

lightly oil the inside of a fondue pot and light the flame. pour in the fondue and let the party begin!
use a saucepan with sloped sides to whisk together a smooth and creamy fondue.

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