Fondue comes to you with Fondue at Home in Vail Valley
Special to the Weekly
Editor’s note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.
It’s always fun to get cheesy. Don’t ‘ya think? And with lots of friends present to share the experience it’s even more exciting. You laugh a lot, drink a lot and share some great stories. Certainly, one of the easiest ways of bringing people together is to have a delicious, mouthwatering fondue party, as it will do just that: make for a joyous evening — in any season.
Fondue, a warm cheese dish, originated in Switzerland — and more specifically in the Canton of Neuchâtel, where it was “discovered” by a famed French attorney and famed gastronome, Brillat-Savarin. The dish dates back to the 18th century when both cheese and wine were important industries in Switzerland. The simple-to-prepare meal utilized ingredients that were found in most average homes.
These days, Fondue at Home has made preparing the meal even simpler: They do it all, from bringing the food and the fondue spears to the pots and the burners.
“We prepare the entire party in our commercial kitchen,” says Derek George, owner of Fondue at Home. “Everything is prepared ahead of
time. Then the chef arrives, sets out a whole fondue party, gets the party going and, then, leaves. When the party is over, everything goes back in a kit, a container we’ve provided, and we come back and pick it up the next morning. If a client wants a catered fondue party, we offer that as well. The chef will stick around, facilitate the party and clean everything up.”
It all began in 2014 when George got the idea of setting up Fondue at Home after a friend who lived in the Canadian Rockies told him about a deli where, after giving a deposit, customers could “rent” a kit that included everything for a fondue party, and then bring it back the next morning. “I began thinking about this valley, “ George says. “and how so many people arrive here, stay in a large home with the whole family. Sometimes it’s snowing hard and they just want
to hang out at home. Sometimes the party is just too big for everyone to go out together. And I thought how cool it would be to take that idea of a fondue party and make a delivery service.”
For its traditional Swiss fondue, Fondue at Home offers a special blend of Gruyère and Emmentaler Swiss cheeses, melted into dry white wine and spiced with nutmeg and Kirschwasser cherry brandy. It’s served with chunks of French baguette, cubed imported French ham, broccoli, apples, cocktail onions and cornichon gherkin pickles. The steak fondue chinois includes prime Black Angus steak and mushrooms heated in beef bone broth and served with original dipping sauces. Lobster tail, shrimp and salad and even gluten-free bread can be included. And, of course, the meal is not complete without a chocolate fondue dessert, served with organic fruit.
“I look at a fondue party as an ‘experience,’” says George. “It’s not just dining. It’s a way to create memories with your friends and family. The whole nature of fondue is communal where people can share stories over a fondue pot. I think that’s one of the things that draws people to it. It’s more than just cheeseburgers and fires or a pizza dinner. Kids like to eat that way, too, and it gets them involved. Its family oriented, a memory-making experience. That’s really what I love about fondue.”