Wine Down Eugene: Special New Year’s Eve Edition


Wine Down Eugene December 30 – January 7

Every New Year’s Eve, family and friends gather at my house for a feast of tasty appetizers and filled flutes of shimmering sparkling wine.  We eat, sip and celebrate while watching the festivities unfold in New York City’s Times Square via Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  It’s become a tradition – one we look forward to each year.  With tradition comes appetizers that are so immensely enjoyed that they must be made each year.

The three dishes that guests rave about most each and every year are Neuchatel Cheese Fondue, Chunky White Chocolate S’mores and Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyère – the ultimate crowd pleasers, and all three delectable goodies are stellar with any Dry or Brut style sparkling wine or Champagne.

Below are two of the three recipes.  For the third and most popular recipe of all, follow me over to my award-winning website for Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyère

Cheese FonduNeuchatel Cheese Fondue


8 ounces each Gruyère, Emmentaler and Appenzeller
1 pound loaf of good rustic Italian bread like Pugliese
1 garlic clove
1 & 1/4 cups of dry white wine (I use dry Gewürztraminer)
1 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp Kirsch (I use Calvados Apple Brandy)
Freshly grated nutmeg


Trim rind from cheese; cut into very small cubes. Cut bread into bite-size cubes.
Peel and halve garlic; rub the inside of the fondue pot with it. Pour wine into fondue pot and heat slowly on the stove. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly in a figure 8 with a wooden spoon. Let cheese melt over low heat, then bring to the bubbling point.
Whisk cornstarch with kirsch until smooth, pour into cheese and let bubble. season with pepper and nutmeg. Stir only until thickend and smooth.
At the table, keep fondue hot on the burner over a small flame. Have bread ready. Stir the cheese mixture while dipping the bread cubes to keep its consistency creamy.
Tip: High quality cheese is the key to a successful and delicious cheese fondue.


IMG_3705Chunky White Chocolate S’mores


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg $
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup uncooked regular oats
3/4 cup crisp rice cereal
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 (4-ounce) bars white chocolate, broken into chunks, or 1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels
12 large marshmallows


Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; add sugars, beating well. Add egg, beating until blended.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating after each addition.
Stir cereal, vanilla, and white chocolate into mixture.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets; flatten with fingertips. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool slightly on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks to cool. Store in tins.
Place marshmallows on a long stick or skewer; toast over low heat (below 300°), 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Place 1 marshmallow on a cookie, and top with a second cookie.
Note: I used Lindt Classic Recipe White Chocolate Bars




Julia has been in the wine industry for nearly 20 years. First through creating European wine tours, then opening her own wine bar, Julia loves writing about food & wine on her website,

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