My mom always told me it would be this way..that my life would pass before my eyes and one day I would turn around and wonder how I got there. Of course when you are young and living at home you can't wait to get to the next hurdle in life and always want to be older than you are, get a job, etc. Now that I am older I have complete understanding of what she was saying about life and children. My mom has always been a wise woman, but, when I was young it is not something I even comprehended. The young have not a care in the world...but then they do not see that either. Here it is Christmas Eve and the year has almost passed by. My mom was right of course and 2007 has gone by in a flash. Was 2007 a good year..you bet...did I learn anything over the course of a year?..you bet..will 2008 be a great year?...YOU BET!!!!
Christmas Eve has always been family time for us even as a child. I don't associate my childhood Christmas Eve's with any food in particular. I don't think we had traditions in that aspect. What was traditional was that we would sit down and watch "A Christmas Carol" with Allistair Sims as a family. This is a tradition that I still carry on to this day. We start with a lovely cheese fondue with artisan bread and parboiled vegetables and potatoes and move on to chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and banana bread or pound cake. You haven't lived until you have had luscious strawberries dipped into a mouthwatering fondue!!! One year I decided to try a tortiere and French Canadian Pea Soup for our Christmas Eve feast. I found out the next day that I had blown "tradition" , so, from that day forward we have always had cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. Our feast is on the coffee table and we eat leisurely in front of the television watching a DVD of "A Christmas Carol". Sometimes we have other guests but the food is always the same and they have to sit down and watch Allistair Sims and the cast of this black & white movie....the colourized version would be blasphemy!!!
What wine do I use for my Cheese Fondue.?????..I always go to St. Hubertus Winery down the road where the winemaker is Swiss. I buy a bottle of Chasselas which is the perfect grape for fondue in the pot and in a glass with the fondue. What I did discover this year was Oka cheese which is made in Quebec. It is indescribable what this cheese adds to the texture and flavour of the fondue. Tres excellent!!!!
Remember if you drop a piece of bread, vegetable, fruit or cake into the fondue pot you have to kiss the person next to you!!!
**Christmas Eve Cheese Fondue**1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup Italian dry white wine
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 cups imported Fontina cheese (or Oka- highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
1-1/2 cups Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2-3 T. flour
½ cup pesto (optional)
2-3 T. flour
½ cup pesto (optional)
2-1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
2-1/2 cups Emmenthaler cheese
½ cup Appenzeller cheese
1 T. kirsch
A few gratings of nutmeg
Toss grated cheeses with flour to coat. Add cheese, a handful at a time, to the wine, stirring constantly and waiting until each addition melts before adding the next. Check the consistency and add more cheese or wine if necessary.
Just before serving, swirl the pesto over the top of the fondue in a decorative pattern.
Serve with 1 inch pieces of cubed Italian bread, fried Italian sausage, cooked vegetables or small cooked potatoes
**Christmas Eve Chocolate Fondue**
1 bar (400 g) Toblerone chocolate (in recent years I use Bernard Callebaut or other good quality chocolate)
1 bar bittersweet, milk or white chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 T. fruit juice concentrate or liqueur or fruit brandy
Seasonal fruit (strawberries, grapes, bananas, peaches, etc)
Melt chocolate with whipping cream over medium-low heat on stove top until chocolate is melted.
Add fruit juice concentrate or liqueur and stir.
Serve in fondue pot with fruit and cake dippers