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Crisp mountain air. A warm fire. Sore muscles after a long day of skiing. What is missing from this so far perfect picture?
Let me tell you about something known as après ski. Far away in the Alps, this term (french for after skiing) at some point came to describe the food, drinks, and entertainment at a ski resort after a day of skiing. Everyone in their gear gathers in the warmth of the indoors, tired but happy, relaxing and enjoying the company of friends.
As someone who lives near a ski resort, we toss this term around as a bit of a joke. (Après everyday!) But in reality, we consider it a special treat whenever we get the true experience. There is nothing like thawing out next to a fire and noshing with your pals when you are exhausted and cold.
You are probably wondering at this point what this has to do with fondue. Well, fondue and après have come be associated with one another (the Alps, skiing, you get it). And to be honest, I want to get a better image into your head than bright orange shag carpet and that weird pot in the back of your parents’ cupboard when you think about eating fondue.
In reality, fondue has a varied history that dates back to 800 BC when Homer described a dish mixing goat’s cheese, wine, and flour in The Iliad. It was not until much later in french-speaking Switzerland that we got the dish we now know as fondue. And it had nothing to do with skiing.
Some say that fondue became popular amongst peasants in the wintertime because fresh produce was scarce. Cheese lasted a long time and even stale bread could be eaten dipped in melted cheese. But the truth is a bit hazy, especially once the Swiss realized how this exotic dish could benefit their economy.
The Swiss Cheese Union stepped in during the 1930’s to establish fondue as Switzerland’s national dish. Why? To sell more cheese, of course! The dish began being aggressively promoted worldwide. It was advertised alongside their tourism scene—Alpine skiing.
Fondue was popularized with Americans during the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. That’s why we associate it with fads of the 70’s. What we know as chocolate fondue was invented around the same time as a promotion for, you guessed it, Toblerone. Why? To sell more chocolate, of course!
While perhaps the idea of eating warm, melty fondue by a roaring fire during après ski has been sold to us, you won’t hear any complaining from Matthew and me. Not only do we find fondue unbelievably delicious, we also find it fun and romantic.
INTRODUCING… THE FONDUE MUG
That said, making fondue at home was not really an option for us before. We have a small kitchen with limited storage space so we do not buy single-use appliances. A large fondue pot, however cool, was not happening.
Then Matthew bought me these fondue mugs. Game changer. We were both skeptical at first, but not anymore. We store them with our other mugs so space is not an issue. We can put them in the microwave them so melting has never been faster. And we can wash them in the dishwasher so we don’t have to hand-wash a cumbersome pot. They even come with tiny forks.
My inspiration for this date night, I have to admit, came from these mugs. They are a no brainer gift—inexpensive, easy, and you can use them again and again. Plus, fondue is more of an activity than a meal. It is something different that you can experience together.
If you are going to try out this date (and you should because it is amazing), I would recommend buying these mugs. All said and done, it is still cheaper than going out for dinner. If you want to do both the cheese and chocolate recipes without doing dishes in between, I would recommend buying four of them. Otherwise, the set of two will be fine. And if you buy them through the link above, you will also be supporting our business. Win win!
Get the step-by-step on how to do this date below.
Easy Fondue Date Night
Time: 1+ hours | Cost: $$ | Location: At Home | Level: Intermediate
This Swiss dish is no longer stuck in the 70’s. With fondue mugs, you can microwave your way to melted cheese and chocolate goodness and let the dishwasher do the clean up. Use our “Let’s Get Messy” cards to up the romance level so your fondue won’t be the only thing heating up.
Download the free printables below--including our invite and recipe--and print. If you would rather go paper free, download the printables to your phone or tablet and use the digital version of the “Let’s Get Messy” cards so you can scroll through them.
Deliver your invite. You could leave it out on the counter one morning, send it via snail mail, pin it to your fridge, or come up with something else creative. If you went paperless, screenshot the invite to send as a text.
On the day of, have your materials and ingredients ready. Put on our love songs playlist to set the mood.
When your date arrives, prepare your first course of cheese fondue together. Otherwise have it ready as a pleasant surprise when they arrive. You could also have the dippers for dessert ready for later.
Eat up! Enjoy every bite of your unique dinner.
Time for dessert. Prepare your second course of chocolate fondue. Set out your “Let’s Get Messy” card game and alternate choosing cards as you eat.
Take a photo of your amazing smorgasbord and tag it @makeadateofit on instagram and facebook!