Credit HawkMan Studios’ ArtHop guys, Adam Mankoski and Troy Hawkins, for suggesting fondue for our latest anewscafe.com team gathering, a monthly event we never call a meeting, but a group hug.
No photos to document the night. We were so busy dipping and eating that nobody wanted to leave the trough table to fetch a camera.
I’ve done cheese fondue and chocolate fondue, but never the hot oil variety, which always fell in the scary cooking category, along with deep fried turkey and pressure-cooked anything.
Adam and Troy are old fondue hands because it’s a Hawkins family holiday tradition that goes back to when Troy was just a babe holding a paint brush in one hand and a fondue fork in the other.
I sent out the email asking the team to just bring whatever they wanted to dip, and the first reply was from Adam. He basically said step aside, sista, you don’t know jack about fondue-food assigning.
Well I never.
But I digress.
So Adam took the fondue reins and sent out a totally detailed list of foods to bring, and how to cut them, and please don’t bring cooked meat, but only raw beef and raw chicken.
Raw meat?! Lord have mercy. I can hear Fern from Environmental Health writing on her clipboard from here.
I’ve done fondue for two and fondue for four, but never for 14, which is what we were looking at for our group hug potluck.
My pair of fondue pots were designated for chocolate, and Adam and Troy brought fondue pots and Fry Daddies galore. And fondue forks, enough so everyone got an individual set of four for their very own.
This is the perfect event for people who grew up fighting for food. With fondue, you’re the master of your fondue food, how much you cook and how much you eat.
It’s also fun.
My idea was a fondue buffet of sorts, but Adam and Troy put the ixnay on buffet-ay and rearranged the tables. We had one long rectangle, with three sets of fondue pots and Fry Daddy pots divided equally along the table, which I’m so glad we covered in plastic. The dipping ingredients were divided into three sets of bowls, which hung out in the area of the hot cheese and hot vegetable oil.
I could see the wisdom behind Adam and Troy’s insistence that everyone sit at the table instead of standing in front of a buffet. There’s something so primitively, happily communal about people sitting at one table, spearing food, cooking it in hot oil or dipping it in cheese, swapping tips and warning of forks left too long to cook, that was a totally bonding food experience, only topped by the chocolate fondue for dessert.
Doni’s Cheese Fondue1 cup white wine 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon flour 1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper, to taste 7 ounces Jack cheese, cubed 7 ounces sharp Cheddar, cubed 7 ounces Havarti cheese, cubed
Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan.
In the meantime, in a larger saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then quickly whisk in the flour and stirring constantly, cook for about 5 minutes.
Now slowly stir in the boiling white wine into the flour mixture. Whisk the mixture until smooth and hot. Now add the cheese cubes, stirring until the cheese is melted, being careful to not allow it to stick. Transfer to a fondue pot with a low flame.
What’s good to dip? Broccoli, cauliflower, bread cubes (slightly toasted or left to air dry), cooked meat, etc.
Chocolate Fondue3/4 cup heavy cream 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1 tablespoon Cognac, liqueur or brandy
In a saucepan, heat the cream until simmering. Add the chocolate and stir until it melts. Add Cognac and stir until smooth. Transfer into a fondue pot over a low flame.
What to dip? Strawberries, angel food cake, pound cake, pineapple, mango, apricots, marshmallows, basically anything you think sounds good dipped in chocolate.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Northern California in the tiny town of Igo.