When you take a slice of toasted baguette and dip it into that warm gooey cheese bathed in herbed marina, you'll swear you're sitting at a restaurant in Madrid. Or heaven, either way.
After that night, I was convinced that few things could top tapas in the boys' minds. But fondue can do!
So a few days later I came home from work and started cooking, chopping and prepping tasty morsels to bathe in a simmering pool of cheese. We had slices of cooked Italian sausage, sauteed steak tips, cubes of crusty bread, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and baby tomatoes.
With those platters and bowls placed on the table, we then set about making the fondue itself. We rubbed cut garlic around the bottom and sides of our pot, for just a hint of flavor, and added white wine over low heat. (I used cooking wine this time, to ensure a kid-friendly dip.)
After the wine began to simmer, we started adding handfuls of shredded cheese, opting for a blend of Gruyere (a fondue "must") and Swiss with just a touch of Asiago. As each handful melted, we added more until we had the rich flavor we wanted. A slurry of water and cornstarch was whisked in to thicken the mix slightly, and a dusting of fresh nutmeg added that piece de resistance.
We then poured the mixture into a fondue pot perched over a tealight candle and placed it smack dab in the middle of all the fixins.
I'm not sure what part the boys enjoyed most - the fact that they each got their own spear to eat with or that they got to dip anything and everything into a bowl of luxuriously rich melted cheese. (It rocked, too.)
And all went well until Ryan was dunking a chunk of meat that fell off his stick and sunk in the pot. The horrified look on his face was priceless.
"Oh man, this is the best part," I assured him. "Now we get to go fishing for it!"
Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfood...@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.com/foodguy/.