The German natives do not feel abashed in parlaying their love of cheese into fun theme parties. I was introduced to the concept of cheese and chat at an intimate soiree in the crème de la crème section of Frankfurt. With my finest crease-free casual pullover on and the woman I sometimes refer to as Baby Pie by my side, I was in a mental mindset congruent with utter cheese enchantment. The schedule of events: unknown. Cheese Fondue was our only clue. The man behind this fondue zest, this evening of cheese desire and seduction, the palpable bucket of melted madness? It was none other than Kathleen’s work colleague. I felt privileged and honored to be a guest at what would be my first cheese fondue gathering.
Upon arriving at the welcoming venue, we were met with a tangy, pungent smell that lingered throughout the building, eliminating the chance for uncertainly to plague us with respect to which floor our fondue frenzy was taking place. I was last to enter the flat, right after Kathleen and her girlfriend (I’m the courteous gentleman on guard during evenings out with the ladies). The mood was chill—music, lit candles, dimmed lights, boiling cheese, and a whole lot more of that stink.
Instantly, I gave a quick side to side, panning the room like Arnold in The Terminator. Everything looked okay. No clowns hiding in closets or weird in-your-face guys greeting me at the door. Just two young ladies sitting on the sofa and the host hard at work by the stove, juggling food prep and conversation. I removed my coat and was more than ready to slurp some cheese fondue.
We made our brief introductions and then the five of us congregated around a fancy IKEA eating table. Not much time would pass before we found ourselves engaging in a traditional German Sekt toast. In all of my German experiences, the calm after the Sekt has seemingly been the unspoken sigh of relief, when all can continue into the evening without any reservations. And that we did, with the next natural course of action being some run-of-the-mill blabbing. We were soon offered some red wine and hors d’oeuvres, and then another toast ensued. Then it was chow time.
Everything was nicely prepared, from the garlic olives to the tuna and crackers; this host was on his game. I made sure my claw-like hand was not ignored and promptly grabbed some food while trying my best not to make a scene. I think I was discreet enough to hide my ferocious hunger, even refraining from hoarding the food tray and swatting at people to shoo them away. But I’ll tell you, anyone who looked me dead in the eye would’ve known that I felt like a savage beast just waiting to pounce on the tiniest morsel of food that came under my scent. I was on my way to getting fat and happy, swallowing all the different spreads like it was my birthday.
When the cheese fondue made its sexy entrance into the room, I had the instant feeling that we were all ready. Not one of us looked like we would hesitate. This is what we came here to do, for sure. It was what the host had been waiting for, as well, a moment when all of his fondue dreams would become reality. It was finally happening. We could collectively put the hype to rest. This was our time, now. The Frankfurt skyline set beautifully in the background of the high-rise flat. Four Germans. One American. One cheesy dream.
We would eventually go on to make proverbial sweet love to the cheese fondue. It was a round robin-like experience, too. The more dips each person got under his or her belt, the more superior that person became. But there was something we just couldn’t deny that evening. What we were doing felt so right. It tasted so good. And as we dipped our bread pieces into the hot cheese, it felt like the heavens had opened up right before our eyes.