Peninsula Swiss Club Fondue Evening
Saturday, February 5, 2005 at the Mountain View Masonic Hall
by Betty & Peter Pircher

It was foggy, windy and cold when we left San Francisco to attend the annual fondue party of the Peninsula Swiss Club. Perfect Fondue weather!

We have to shamefully admit, that we never attended the Fondue party during the twenty years we lived in San Francisco ; but now as ex-Swiss abroad (back in Switzerland , but still members of the Club) it seemed a fun thing to do.

We were looking forward to spend this special evening with our friends Heidi and Isaac. They know everybody! Shortly after we arrived in the beautifully decorated Masonic Hall in Mountain View , they introduced us to the President of the Club, Walter Gyger. The fast thinker he is, he immediately drafted us to write an article in the newsletter with a foreign perspective. What else could we do than to agree, especially after Heidi offered her help? Thank you Heidi!

A gmüetlechi Fondue party is the perfect place to mingle with people. We met people we had not seen for years and others we only have heard about, but never met in person. The Gambonis still look as young as years ago when we saw them at various other Swiss functions. After having eaten many of his cookies, we finally met the now retired, but famous Swiss cookie baker, Walter Howald and his lovely wife Hanna. Heidi Göetschi, the other Heidi G., is as active as ever, organizing and making things happen! We also met representatives of the younger generation, some working in the high tech industries of Silicon Valley , others in traditional businesses. It is good to see all generations participating in the activities of the Club.

Soon dinner started. Some of the youngest members of the club were competently serving salad and cleaning the tables with great efficiency.

After we enjoyed the salad, the president took the microphone and explained with Swiss organizational talent the order of tables to fill the Fondue pots. We waited our turn, observing how others enjoyed their Fondue – so we knew we were in for a treat. When we finally got in line with our cacquelon, we stood behind a Thurgauer who waited with an empty, but already used cacquelon. His table was going for a refill, while we were just lining up for our first helping. Maybe sitting at a table with friends from Bern was not a good idea? But not to worry; there was plenty of Fondue for second and third helpings. Who grated all the cheese and who cut all the bread in perfect cubes? Definitely she or he must have had a muscle ache the next day! I’m wondering how many kilos of Appenzeller, Gruyere and Emmenthaler found their way into the Fondue pots and into the stomachs of 150 attendees. Among our friends at the table was Elisabeth, visiting from the Oberhasli in Switzerland . If you live in the Bernese Oberland, you know about cheese. Elisabeth commented how outstanding this Fondue was, and we all agreed. Of course, Fondue has to be accompanied by a good wine. The cellar-master of the club had stocked up with an excellent selection, among them a Fendant from the Valais. Finally, for all of us with a sweet tooth, home-made fruit salad and a selection of different cakes concluded the feast.

Now it was time for the president to introduce all the volunteers. They were greeted with thunderous applause! It takes a lot of effort, skill and coordination to decorate the tables, grate the cheese, cut the bread, buy beverages, and sell beverages, to set the tables and to cook such an excellent Fondue for so many people. We are sure to speak for all attendees in saying Thank you very much!

Now that we were all stuffed with Swiss food, it was time for more entertainment. The South Bay Stompers played great Jazz and Dixieland music during dinner. It was time to get up and move onto the dance floor. Unfortunately all the food and wine had taken its toll and only a few took advantage of the great sounds from the South. Dancing is good for the health and digestion! A message to the younger generation: Next year, no more excuses, get up and dance!

e hopefully will make it back then to attend another great Fondue party; only next time we will hide under our new Peninsula Swiss Club hats and skip the introduction to the President. Then someone else has to write the article for the newsletter.

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last updated: 12-Feb-2006 1:16 PM