Forest Family Fondue Tips
For the Forest Family, fondue is a tradition that’s three decades in the making. It’s a ritual they most often observe around the holidays, particularly with their famous Christmas Eve Forest Family Fondue, where neighbours, co-workers, cousins, and extended family come together for a day of fondue feasting, festivities and good conversation.
“It started about thirty years ago, my family would host Christmas Eve fondue night with our immediate and close extended family and then in 2010 it really expanded,” says Chantelle Forest. “My grandmother, Aunt and Uncle took a trip back to Malaysia where neighbours go house to house and visit within their communities for the holidays.”
“It starts at 10 in the morning and will go all day even until 1 a.m. the next morning,” says Chantelle’s grandmother, Ujan Forest.
“My uncle thought you had to eat a full meal at every house because he didn’t want to be rude, and he ended up getting sick by the end of this tour because he didn’t know you just nibble a bit and move onto the next place,” says Chantelle.
After the Malaysia trip, the Forests decided to up their fondue game with an all day event, where guests filter in and out throughout the day as they’re able to come. “I think we had close to 50 people come the first time and it kind of just grew from there,” says Ujan.
“As long as I’ve been alive we’ve been doing fondue,” says Chantelle Forest. “Every time it’s different, I don’t think one fondue pot is ever the same, we’ll start with a broth base typically and you add whatever you’d like, wine, mushrooms, seasonings and you just keep going until you’ve reached that flavour you’re looking for.”
The Forests most often do traditional broth base fondue to cook vegetables and proteins, and have also served cheese fondue as an appetizer and even chocolate fondues for dessert.
Here are the family’s top tips for a successful fondue:
- Ingredient preparation is key to a successful fondue night, get all of your ingredients in advance - prep the proteins, veggies and other dippers the night before.
- For a broth based fondue, keep a reserve at the ready to top up your fondue pot as the liquid evaporates throughout the evening.
- For cheese and chocolate fondues, you can control the amount of heat applied during cooking by using a double boiler method with a vessel on top of a boiling pot of water (glass or aluminum bowls on top work well for this).
- Use ingredients like wine, dark beer, horseradish and chives to give your cheese fondue an extra something.
- For cheese fondue dippers; green apple, cubed breads, pretzel sticks and veggies like peppers, steamed broccoli & brussel sprouts are all great options.
RECIPE: PRAIRIE MELT CHEESE FONDUE
- 1 cup Prairie Melt
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Place Prairie Melt, white wine and lemon juice in a small non-stick pan. Stir over low heat until Prairie melt is fully melted and begins to bubble.
- Stir in dijon mustard and nutmeg.
- If desired, serve the fondue in a fondue set or place the pan of fondue over a tea candle to keep warm. Arrange an assortment of cubed bread and/or veggies for dipping and enjoy!
“It wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t fondue, it’s all I’ve ever known. It goes three generations back now and we’ve tried to scale it back some years but it’s in our DNA. We’re fon-doers not fon-don’t-ers,” says Chantelle laughing.
“It’s really special because fondue is a longer dining process, you really get to sit down and have meaningful conversations with people, because your mouth isn’t always full, you’re eating, you’re cooking, you’re talking.”
COVID will change the way the Forests fondue this year, but they’re certain they can get creative and keep this tradition going even just in their immediate families, until it’s safe to go all out once again.
With tears welling up in her eyes, Grandma Ujan explains why these gatherings are so important to her. “It’s the greatest feeling to have my family all together, it’s really beautiful. I come from a traditional family who always had big gatherings at Christmas. In Malaysia it’s just a special time of year.”
We’d like to thank the Forest Family for sharing their story and Fondue tips with us. We hope you all have a safe, healthy and fondue-tastic holiday season. For more Prairie Melt recipes visit our website here.