Retro is all the rage these days, it seems. From clothing to decor to jewellery, vintage is in. Absinthe Café is bringing a nostalgic touch to its fall and winter menu, offering fondue nights that celebrate this classic dining style in a most delicious fashion. At a preview event last night, dozens of happy diners enjoyed family-style fondue service, delivered with the usual polish and flair for which Absinthe has become famous.
The three-part offering we enjoyed included a cheese fondue course, a classic fondue Bourguignonne and a fantastic chocolate fondue finisher. Well-briefed staff provided information, tips and humour at every turn, making sure we got the most out of this fun dining experience.
The night began with a festive cocktail – a Kir Breton, combining cider and cassis in a bright, welcoming glass. As we sipped our drinks, we perused the menu/instructions for the evening, which included the following warning – in true Pat Garland language: “Don’t knock over the fondue. That s*** is f***ing hot and will burn you like a mofo. Just don’t do it. Drink Right, Eat Left.”
The cheese fondue was a great opener – a classic Moitié-Moitié combination of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOC, a which is a slightly acidic Swiss semi-soft cheese made with raw cow’s milk. Each diner received a plate with a pieces of baguette, apple, pear and broccoli to dip in the communal fondue pot. The recommended wine pairing of Niagara’s Tawse Riesling was an excellent match for the rich, buttery saltiness of the cheese.
Having a pot of boiling oil delivered to the table felt both exciting and dangerous as we eagerly dove into the next course. Fondue Bourguignonne consists of morsels of good quality meat – usually beef – along with various dipping sauces. Absinthe provided four delicious options, ranging from a spicy Buffalo sauce to garlic and anchovy, blue cheese and Ranch; we were also given a lovely selection of crudités and an astonishingly tasty Green Goddess dip. The Chateau Saint Dominique Saint-Émilion Bordeaux was a nicely balanced pairing that worked well with the medley of flavours in this course.
The sweet finish of melted Valrhona Caraque chocolate flavoured with a touch of raspberry was irresistable. The ganache-like flourless brownie squares, figs, clementine segments and strawberries were perfect vehicles for the silky-smooth chocolate and the course was enhanced by the accompanying Graham’s 10 year old Tawny Port.
Two and a half hours later, our fondue adventure drew to a close. I can’t wait to go back for more. Check Absinthe Café’s website at http://www.absinthecafe.ca for dates and details.