My mother, Charlotte,  has always reminded me of Doris Day. Hip, sophisticated, funny and charming, she could (and still can) bat her eyes to get what she wanted. Like at the local butcher using her charms to get the best cuts of meat.

In the 70’s, mother would throw fondue parties and try her recipes on us before hand.

One day my parents decided to leave New Orleans and move to Sandestin, now known as Miramar Beach. They handed a realtor friend the key to our home and said they would put it on the market when they returned from the weekend. The realtor pitched the house to a couple, begged my parents to show it, a sold it while they were gone. The caveat,  they had to move immediately.

One of the items mother put in the garage sale pile was our trusty avocado green fondue pot. She didn’t think they would use it at the beach and I thought otherwise snatching it from the pile of wares.

I developed this recipe for a memorable Valentine’s Day lunch that I served my husband and daughter. It’s a keeper, just like the avocado fondue pot.

4 servings


  • 1/2 lb gruyere
  • 1/2 pound grated emmentaler
  • 1/4 appenzeller
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 cups dry chardonnay
  • Kirshwasser (cherry brandy) to taste
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Good loaf of sourdough and loaf of rye breads cut into cubes
  • Par cooked (al dente) baby red, baby purple or baby Yukon gold potatoes quartered
  • 2 filet mignon steaks, cracked salt and ground pepper seasoned, then grilled to medium rare. Slice steak thin against the grain
  • Thin asparagus, ends trimmed then blanched. By blanching I mean placing asparagus in a boiling water for three minutes and then in an ice bath to cool.
  • 2 1lb fresh Maine lobster tails, shelled cubed and poached in butter in a skillet.


  1. Mix grated cheese with cornstarch in large bowl
  2. Add smashed garlic
  3. Add wine to fondue pot and bring to a boil on stove top
  4. Add cheese slowly by handfuls waiting on each to melt before adding another
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of kirshwasser
  6. Add 1 tsp of ground pepper to taste
  7. Pinch of ground nutmeg to taste
  8. Transfer pot to table and place on the fondue stand. Fill reservoir with fondue alcohol to heat. Be careful not to spill the alcohol, as your table will ignite in a fiery blaze! Take this from experience!
  9. Use fondue skewers at each place setting
  10. Place bread in a basket on table
  11. Plate asparagus potatoes, lobster, grilled meat and apples on a large platter to pass to guests

NOTE: This is a delicious and fun meal to be shared with friends, or divide the recipe in half to create an intimate dinner for two.  I also served some bubbly, Veuve Cliquot Rose. Adds to the fun factor.