Just in time for Valentine’s day, one of our Field Marketing Managers, Rebecca Stumpf, has provided us with a great guest blog post. Did you forget to make that V-day reservation? Worried about crowded restaurants? Want to save money and have a fun dinner at home? Becky has your solution:

I have always been a fan of the fondue themed restaurants. Expensive prices, over-eating and a recommendation from a friend led me to the idea of having my own home fondue experience. The result, a wonderful meal at a reasonable price and none of the wait, tipping or other diners 3 feet away!

Start with a simple cheese fondue, one that includes a combination of cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmenthaler. Once prepared this is a great snack while prepping the main course. Set out vegetables, crusty bread and even cooked pieces of meat (salami, meatballs, etc…) to go with this fondue. A cheese fondue is easy and fun for kids, plus it’s a great incentive to get them to eat their veggies! *Ok, my kids like fondue, there are no guarantees your kids will too, but give it a try!

I have found that it’s best to coat the freshly shredded cheese with a flour mixture containing salt, pepper and paprika. Adding kirsch or cognac is optional as these can be expensive liquors. However, the liquor brings out a certain flavor that really makes this fondue pop. Try other cheeses and other spices to make a unique blend special to your family!

Now onto the main course of steak, filet and seafood! At first I was hesitant to trust my abilities to cook raw meat; chicken and seafood at home in a pit of boiling broth. What seemed like an invitation for sickness due to undercooked meat became a silly notion after successfully cooking my first chunk of filet!

I have tried two different ways of cooking raw meat fondue style: hot oil and hot broth. The hot oil fondue is also referred to as bourguignonne. There are many recipes on the internet that are as basic as hot peanut oil to more elaborate that have extra ingredients to give the oil a certain flavor. This method was good but I didn’t like that my kitchen smelled like a deep fat fryer for hours, seriously stinky!

Another option is to use hot broth instead of hot oil. My husband, kids and I like the Coq Au Vin recipe from the Melting Pot. Vegetable broth, red wine, garlic, mushrooms and green onions are the only ingredients to this fondue giving each piece of meat and/or seafood an enhanced richness, full of flavor. We like to serve the meat with Chantilly Cream, a mixture of sour cream and horseradish. You can find many other dipping sauce recipes online.

Now, if you haven’t already caught on, you will need two fondue pots or plan to be washing pots between courses. If this is your first fondue experience you may be feeling that something is missing if you don’t have the chocolate! Yes, you’ll have to clean a pot and prepare the chocolate; however this is the best part of the fondue experience! There are many great recipes online for chocolate fondue whether you like milk chocolate, white or dark or perhaps you want to add in caramel or something else to jazz up the fondue. Fruits, sweet-dense cakes like pound cake, marshmallows, and graham crackers are all good dipping items for chocolate fondue.

If you’re lazy like me, you might find that cleaning a pot only to make another fondue is just too much for one night. Typically I will pick up a fabulous dessert from my local bakery or grocery store. A beautifully decorated cupcake or cheesecake with a cup of coffee is just the right sweetness to end a great meal!

I am lucky that my children (4 years and almost 2 years) eat almost everything that my husband and I eat, so they had a great time with this meal. Prior to having kids my husband and I liked our romantic dinner at home and now we get to spend our Valentine’s Day with a couple of cute kiddos who appreciate good food and family as much as we do!

If you want to see Becky’s detailed recipes, check out our Facebook Page.

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