Greetings from Atlanta, where I participated in another Top Secret meeting of the Royal Fondue Society. About 20 members from all over the world gathered with our fearless leaders (The Sovereign & His Viceroy who shall remain anonyous) and settled in at "Dante's Down the Hatch" for an evening of fun and fondue. While the famous jazz band was not in attendance it didn't stop us from singing "I'll Have to Say I love You in a Song" along with the solo acoustic guitar dude.
There was a medieval-length table packed with our compadres... those who are fond of the skinny forks and small bowls of food. There were many choices for sampling - the international cheese fondue was incredible, dipping breads, apples, and vegetables. A few of us had the mandarin meats, marinated in an asian way, perfect for stick-ing in oil and eating (but not right away!) and dipping sauces. The cardinal sin of fondue feasting is that you do NOT eat the food with the long cooking forks, you put it on the plate and eat like a normal person. As much as we want to really be like sophisticated pirates, we aren't. I ate mine that way anyhow, I couldn't help it.
Having been a little rusty on my fondue cooking instructions, I was reminded about timing on the simmering duration of the meats, fish, chicken, and pork. My internal clock is great, but you have to account for the temperature of the oil itself, 160 degrees and you start killing the bacteria, and whether shrimp is supposed to be grey or do you leave it in a while. Dante the proprietor himself came over and gave us the "real story" behind salmonella, how you get it and some great "transmission tales" of bacteria. Needless to say, within 30 seconds I was washing my hands.
Who needs tapas when you have fondue? A great meal to share, fun banter when your sticks get mixed up (hint - place 2 different items on to identify your stick, like a mushroom and chicken), and you leave the restaurant smelling like something oily - like a diner but without the smoky bacon reek.
The Sovereign of the Royal Fondue Society and his First Lady of the Fork had given my husband and I a fondue set for our wedding. It's like friendship, fun, and 'the way it oughta be' all boxed up with a silver bow - a real treasure for years to come.