March 27, 2011

Fondue Festival @ Bier Markt Esplanade

I've eaten at the Bier Markt on King West several times, but this was my first time at the Esplanade location. I was astounded by how much bigger this location is, and it was a very lively spot to hang out on a Friday night. Of course, I had my sight set on the annual fondue festival.
First, we sampled the Monsieur, with Black Forest ham, emmental, sweet Dijon, sunflower country bread, served with Swiss gruyere fondue. This was basically a grilled sandwich served with a pot of melted cheese.
The sandwich, on its own, was already very rich and satisfying. It was almost overwhelmingly rich when dipped in cheese. Of course, it was still very tasty and enjoyable.
For our side, we tried the Bistro galette: layered Yukon potato, aged white cheddar, smoked bacon. It reminded me of a Spanish tortilla de patatas (potato and egg pie) with cheese. I loved the warm, savoury combination of bacon and creamy cheddar cheese. I almost wanted a whole slice to myself.
Getting one fondue wasn't enough. For our second fondue, we went with a more traditional choice: Smoked gouda with smoked Dutch gouda, crisp bacon, grape tomatoes, blanched asparagus, Belgian endives and fresh baguette. I wished they had lightly toasted the baguette to give it a little crunch. Nevertheless, this cheesy concoction was, as expected, delicious and super rich! After the meal, I was a little overwhelmed from consuming all that cheese. Needless to say, I wanted to stay away from cheese for the next while.

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