I am completely sold on the fondue style of entertaining because not only is it easy on the host, but also a very convivial way of dining which can last for hours as long as the flame keeps burning. You need only to supply the ingredients and utensils and the guests will take care of the rest. But first, I'm going to deviate from the usual format of subject image with accompanying recipe and simply post instructions to make your own fondue vigneronne at the very end, which really, is where the fun all begins.
Fondue, no doubt, is known the world over on the gourmet scene, but la fondue vigneronne? Unlike its counterpart fondue boeuf bourguignonne which uses hot oil as the cooking medium, fondue vigneronne is a variant, where bite-sized cubes of beef and/or veal are done to perfection in a pot of simmering wine. Various sauces are essential to the meal besides two or three vegetable side dishes (make it simple) and fresh loaves of bread. The most common sauces would be mayonnaise, creamy horseradish, mustard and ketchup as my husband and I had experienced on separate occasions in France, yet for this meal I added a salsa verde and a roquefort cheese sauce. Nobody ended up touching the mayo or ketchup!
The only photos taken were of the various breads before the party began. The first two acting as carbs with dinner and the third as an accompaniment to coffee.
A crusty round of pagnotta...
A loaf called 'Resegone' which takes after the jagged peaks of the mountain range in Lecco that goes by the same name.
Italian fruitcake? Anyone? This is the first time we've had Bisciola and I think next time we'll think twice before getting an entire loaf. Don't get me wrong, it's really good, with lots of chopped dried fruit, figs, walnuts and golden raisins in a loaf that has more of a cake/bread texture - dense but not so dense that you could chuck it as a weapon! The only drawback was the price: 18.36 euros for a two pounder. It was artigianale, and if what the sign said was true, I can presume that this artisan bread was made from a mother dough started in 1930.
The following was split between two fondue pots - a 2 quart and a 1 quart. Enough for 8.
Veal loin and/or a tender cut of beef (I used entrecôte steaks) cut into 3/4-inch (2cm) cubes. Count on about 6oz (170g) per person.
1 bottle of inexpensive bordeaux
6 cups plain beef broth, homemade or canned
1 medium onion, stuck with 3-4 whole cloves
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
Combine the wine, beef broth, vegetables and bay leaf in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Strain into fondue pots and keep on a continuous simmer. Accompany with ramekins of mayonnaise, dijon mustard, ketchup, creamy horseradish, salsa verde and roquefort sauce. Round out the meal with steamed green beans or a mixed salad of leafy greens; french fries or roasted new potatoes ; and fresh bread.