Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ringing in the New Year and Smothering it in Cheese

Our plans for New Years Eve initially involved a quiet evening at home with our first attempt at making fondue. As you may have read on facebook, those plans changed when our neighbors invited us to a potluck party for the building. Our neighbors are older, mostly retirees, and none speak English. We made some simple cookies and planned to drop by for half an hour before heading back upstairs to our fondue. We didn't realize that by showing up, we signed up for a fantastic three hour, three course meal. Our generous neighbors fed us duck, ham, potatoes, rice casserole and tons of desserts. We tried wine from the vineyards just around the corner from our flat (which apparently sells out quickly each year) and homemade schnapps and grappa. A neighbor's adult children joined us - and they spoke English! We chatted about the neighborhood, their plans for an upcoming vacation to the West coast states and the difference between American and Swiss Coca Cola (corn syrup vs. sugar). It was a wonderful party. A little before midnight we went back to our flat to ring in the New Year with a German countdown special, similar to Dick Clark. At midnight, we watched the fireworks being set off by our neighbors. The Swiss love their fireworks; they continued setting them off through most of the night and the remnants littered the streets the next morning.

On January 2nd, we finally returned to our fondue. There were many, fairly easy cheese fondue recipes online, but friends recommended the prepackaged fondues available at the grocery, so I bought it, along with "Fondue for Two" dish and burner set.

The box came with two packages of cheese fondue. Each package is 1.5 servings. As instructed, I started one package of cheese on the stove top, cooking until bubbling. In the meantime, I roasted baby potatoes and broccoli.

The potatoes and broccoli were joined by green apple and fresh bread. We paired it with a bottle of white wine with a picture of cheese fondue on the label. It seemed appropriate.

A little freshly cracked pepper was added and fondue was served. It was fantastic! Despite serving recommendations otherwise, one package was more than enough for Matt and me. Clearly we need to up our ability to consume cheese, because my night ended with a bit of a (well-worth it) stomach ache.

We're looking forward to having fondue at least two or three more times this winter, but no later. Apparently fondue comes and goes with the season. Come spring, only tourists are clogging their digestive track with gooey cheese.

Otherwise, 2014 has been slow and lazy. Henry began anti-depressants on Monday. After a week, he's definitely calmer. We're seeing slow, steady improvements in his behavior, but still can't leave more than a few minutes. The vet said to give the medication a month to take full effect and then an additional month of behavior modification training. Yikes! Hopefully he moves a bit quicker, because stuck in a temporary flat is the last place I want to spend our first two months in Switzerland. We have our fingers and toes crossed!

In the meantime, the Sleachmours wish you a very happy 2014!!

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