As with all families, we have our traditions throughout the year, but one that has been far more lasting than others is the New Year’s Eve traditional Swiss fondue we have with dear friends Dennis and Debbie. Our 25 year or so marathon began when our children were small – and they wanted pizza instead of fondue!
Ritchey’s family enjoyed this tradition on winter Saturday evenings when they lived in Switzerland. He is head chef for this operation! Our fondue begins with gruyere and emmentaler cheeses, with just a bit of brie added in, white wine, kirsch, garlic, butter, pepper, a little paprika, cornstarch and nutmeg. It is heated – in the fondue pot Ritchey brought with him in 1976 when he came back to the states – until melted and beginning to boil!
Then it placed over a burner in the center of the table and everyone dips in bread cubes. In a house full of talkative people we turn very quiet! There are just the sounds of ‘oh, this is sooo good!’ or ‘the best you’ve ever made’! We enjoy a glass of white wine and a cup of hot tea with our fondue – and the more hearty among the group, a jigger of kirsch!
As the fondue disappears a crust starts to form on the bottom of the fondue pot – as in the picture above. We all fight over the tasty bits!
Then “The” game begins! Most Kentuckians think “The” game is what the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville fought Saturday. The rivalry doesn’t even touch our Trivial Pursuit game – men against the women! Throughout the years Linton and Kate and their friends have come, sometimes it is the original four, but we always have a fun game along with Chex Mix and other snacks.
Our game is interrupted at midnight – we must toast and as Ritchey said at his New Year’s Eve party long ago when we met – ‘Shake hands with the men and kiss the girls’! The television comes on long enough to watch the ball drop in Times Square – then we’re back to the game!
Coffee and dessert are usually next on the agenda – fortifying us for the rest of the game! The long fought battle usually ends around 2 or 3 in the morning. We’re hoping to get snowed in this year!
What traditions do you enjoy with your family?