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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling Festive

Today I went to the mall.  For someone who likes to shop as much as I do, you would think that I would love the mall.  Au contraire.  I hate the mall.  It scares me; so many people and so much merchandise.    All those stores, mostly filled with things I don't want, and all those people running around madly clutching shopping bags.  And no air.  I guess if they could make Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive into a mall I would feel differently about malls, but how many Pottery Barns and Banana Republics does the world need anyway?

Anyway, despite my general dislike of malls, I couldn't help but get caught up in a little holiday tra la la.  The music was playing, the giant Christmas tree in the middle was sparkling, and Williams Sonoma was sampling their peppermint bark.  As far as I'm concerned, peppermint bark is a huge reason to feel festive.

Now don't get too excited because I'm not going to give you a recipe for peppermint bark.   I think that's a food best left to the professionals.  Let's face it, there are some things not worth making yourself, and I think peppermint bark one of them.  If you make peppermint bark then please take note:  I'm impressed because it's not a project I've ever tackled.  You are a better person than I am.

But all this joyousness and twinkling lights got me thinking more about festive foods.  You know, all that stuff that we only indulge in at the holidays.  The reason that come January 1 we are all madly jumping on our scales and running back to the gym.  The really fattening stuff that we rarely eat otherwise.   For me, that food is fondue.

Fondue is a food that probably never should have been introduced to the American audience because we have no self control.  I guarantee you that the Europeans who invented it never dipped pound cake and marshmallows in chocolate fondue.  I also suspect that our fondue forefathers never wiped the bottom of the fondue pot clean with a chunk of angel food cake.  And, I haven't even gotten started on cheese fondue.  A heart attack waiting to happen.

So, in honor of the season and because dipping fruit into the fondue might take it from being total gluttony to being a health food, here's a little holiday fah la la.

Classic Chocolate Fondue


1 3 1/2 ounce bar Toblerone chocolate
2 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum

Assorted fruits including strawberries, bananas and raspberries for dipping

Fill the fondue pot one-third full with water.  Place the porcelain bowl insert in the pot and heat it on the stove.   Chop the chocolate and place it in the porcelain bowl and then add the cream.  Stir until all the chocolate hasd melted.  Stir in the rum and continue to heat for 1 more minute.

Transfer the fondue to the table and keep warm over the burner.  Serve with assorted fruits (or pound cake, etc.) for dipping.

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