Valentine's Day Dinner: Appetizer

Valentine's Day Dinner: Appetizer

Cheese Fondue is my all-time favorite appetizer because it's sooo delicious and fondue is fun! Fondue requires that the participants slow down, savor, chit-chat and enjoy not only the food, but the event. Fondue is an event.

I have fond memories of my parents hosting Friday night dinner parties for their friends in which fondue was the main attraction. My mom did a Cheese Fondue, followed by an Entree Fondue with a selection of meats and shrimp, and then ended the evening with Chocolate Fondue served with little squares of pound cake and chunks of fruits. Cocktails flowed, as did the conversation. My sister and I, peeking out from our bedroom door, were in awe of how fancy our mother was working her fondue magic. I decided when I was 12 years old that I would host fondue parties when I grew up.

My Mom's Cheese Fondue [the real thing]
4 cups shredded Gruyere
3 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 cup dry white wine
Crusty French bread, cubed

Place the cheese, flour and pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Heat the wine to a simmer in a saucepan and then gradually add the cheese mixture and stir constantly until the cheese melts and the mixture thickens. Transfer to a fondue pot over low heat. Dip crusty bread chunks into the gooey cheese goodness, sip your cocktail, kiss your honey and enjoy the deliciousness.

Okay, so I promised that these recipes would be uncomplicated and even though cheese fondue is not complicated I am aware that most people do not own a fondue pot. FYI: Crate & Barrel sells them. So here's a bonus appetizer recipe for you. It is also delicious and this one is super easy.

Baked Brie Cups
Athens phyllo dough cups, in the freezer section at the grocer
Wedge of brie, cubed, without the rind
Apricot or raspberry jam

Thaw the phyllo cups. Place a cube of brie into each cup and top with a dollup of jam. Bake at 350 until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

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