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We can’t really afford the trip to Switzerland, so we took ourselves a vacation via our kitchen. Tonight Joram made his first dinner for his project, and we ate scrumptious fondu.

That’s right. I said scrumptious.

Before we could embark, we needed to pack for the trip. Or, since this involved our kitchen only, stock our pantry.

First we hit the Shoppers hoping to get rid of some coupons, stock up on some needed items for other things, and look for some fancy pants cheese for the fondu.

They had our cheese, but holy macaroni! It would cost thirty bucks and leave us with a ton of cheese left over. Yikes. Thankfully we would pass three other grocery stores on the way home. I decided to try elsewhere. Wouldn’t you know, the Giant was cheaper? Giant is fairly expensive, but even it is cheaper than the SFW.

Now you know why I never go to SFW for anything without a coupon. No thank you. I can’t afford it!

However, with coupons, now that’s another story. Especially with those glorious doubled $1 coupons? You can do this:

I love it when I get cheers for my grand total at the grocery store. The couple behind me asked for pointers while the cashier scanned my coupons and the guy behind them couldn’t believe my savings. I paid a whopping $43.08 for all of that. My original total was $164.98 – a 75% savings!!!!

Then I went to Giant to pick up the cheese we needed. Better price, the correct size, and they had an overabundance of bread! Bread savings – woot!

Sad to say, that little amount was about half what I spent at SFW. They should really make coupons for the crazy expensive cheese, right? HA! I spent $19.69 for a total of $21.74 in products. Expensive dinner? Well, I think my kiddo was totally worth it!

Time to go home and get ready for a “trip” to Switzerland!

First thing Joram always does: Get your ingredients ready to go!

You can even see my DS and cheese grater ready to go!

Our cheeses were Gruyere and Emmental. I had no idea what the latter was. We went on a little adventure to learn about this sort of cheese.

As it turns out, this is basically Swiss Cheese. Who knew? But, it seems a bit like the square/rectangle thing. In America what we call Swiss Cheese may or may not be Emmental cheese and apparently if it is not? Tastes vastly different. Or so says the internet gods. Take that for what it is worth. I decided the Emmental stuff might be megabucks, but it was worth trying to ensure getting it over just regular cheap American Swiss.

With so much cheese, Joram let Caramon have a go with the grater. By the time the grating was over, I think both boys were happy.

Joram measured and prepared most everything. The thing I was proudest over was the way he handled the cloves of garlic. He learned a lot from his Rachel Ray viewing! He didn’t even question the instructions. I’d never touched a clove of garlic until a few years ago. Talk about impressing mom!

Of course we have so much garlic right now, I’m thinking we need to find loads of garlic recipes. Looks like I have someone to help me out!

We ran into two problems. The first, we barely had a third of a cup of cooking wine. I never cook with wine and really didn’t want to shell out for some cooking wine. My mom offered up hers. I feel kind of guilty. A quick google said I could use ginger ale which I actually had from the week I had the plague. Guess that plague paid off after all!

The other problem with the fondu came from us making it on the stove. We don’t actually have a fondu pot.

Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir. Stir.

It took forever to make up properly. I actually hit the internet to try to find out if we were doing something wrong or misunderstood Coach DS. I’d hardly started my googling when my husband announced the fondu was done.

Joram kept stirring his fondu while we prepared our bread. Caramon asked if we could bread bowl our pumpernickel and Italian breads. Well, why not? Would be far easier to eat that way as our table set up is not real conducive to hovering over a pot.

Here’s the boys getting ready to gobble up their bread bowl and fondu:

The Verdicts:
Joram: Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble. I didn’t hear much else from him.
Caramon: He doesn’t care as much for aged cheeses, and while this wasn’t quite like regular Swiss – he still didn’t like it. He said it was still too much for him. (Honestly, I don’t like traditional American style Swiss. Blech. So I understand.)
Sir Megabyte: It was OK. He ate all of his, but I don’t think he was 100% sold. Like he ever is?
Me: I had to unbutton my pants and succumb to the food coma. This was way better than the equivalent at The Melting Pot. I actually find that one too “swissy”.

Joram’s turned out a tad bit sweet. I’m not sure why. But that bit of sweet combined with the aged cheeses was beyond awesome. I totally dug it. I guess it’s like the people who go into that whole salty and sweet thing?

I am curious if the sweetness came from the ginger ale. It could be my mother’s choice in wine, it could be the cheese I chose, but I’m thinking the ginger ale. I wrote a note in the fondu rec to always use ginger ale because I think it was so fantastic. I am wondering how much it would change things to try a different cheese as well to maybe appease Caramon more.

I ate my serving of fundo with one of my favourite breads, pumpernickel:

One of the things we chose to do is to learn about the foods, the traditions, and the country. It is a great way to mix up our educational day. I really liked that idea. Next week we will try to do a little more study on each of our countries.

One of the cute things we learned about fondu is how much fun you can make the experience. Apparently there’s a whole thing where if a woman drops her food into the pot, she has to kiss all the men at the table! Yikes! I don’t think I’ll ever play that one!

Joram was OK with the other guys’ reactions. He is so excited about tomorrow’s adventure to Germany. He’s even more excited that my mother found us the strawberry extract for our meringue cookies he saw someone on tv make!

I’ll report back on how Germany goes!

Happy eating!

–Lady O

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