Two things I love during the holidays are tradition and simplicity. Meringue with Double Crème de la Gruyère and Swiss Chocolate fondue with fruit fulfill both desires.

For Christmas my mother-in-law always brings a meringue shell that we fill with sorbet  and cover in frozen berries. This is an English-Dutch, light version of the deliciously heavy Swiss version.

If you’re up for making your own meringue drops, it’s not difficult; and the Double Crème de la Gruyère can be found at most grocery stores in the cream section.

Meringue Dollips (from my mom’s 1960s Better Homes and Garden book)

  • 3 Egg Whites (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a dash of salt

Meringue Dollips (from Meringue pour les Nulles) for 16 cookies

  • 3 Egg Whites (room temperature)
  • 200 grams sugar
  • a pinch of salt


In order to have great meringue make sure your egg whites are at room temperature and there are no spots of yolk in your whites.

Add the pinch of salt (vanilla & cream of tarter for the American recipe) to your egg whites. Begin beating the eggs with an electric mixer on Medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Then add the the sugar a little at a time, beating on high until very stiff peaks form (tips are straight up) and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t rush the process.

The amount of time and temperature of the oven varies across all recipes. The point is, the longer and higher the temperature, the crunchier the cookie. With shorter and lower temperatures, the cookie will be more gooey in the center.  The French recipe calls for a preheated oven at 120C.

Cover your baking sheet with baking paper (papier de protection pour la cuisson au four).  Use a spoon or pipe your meringue with a large star tip onto your cookie sheet.

Bake 30 minutes to an hour. Turn off the oven and let them set for another hour. Store in an airtight container until you serve them on individual plates with a spoonful of Double Crème de la Gruyère.

* Don’t waste those egg yolks! They can be used in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast of Overnight Monkey Bread (though I substitute the rosemary & raisons with chopped pecans). It’s a deliciously fun yeasty cinnamon and sugar breakfast roll.

For New Years Eve my husband makes chocolate fondue. It compliments the champagne and can easily serve a large group of people.

Melt two bars of dark chocolate with some milk. We keep it simple, though I’ve noted that some recipes add cream, a soup spoon of a liqueur or a pinch of cardamom.  Serve on a fondue burner along with sliced bananas, oranges, mandarins and seedless grapes.


New Years Eve 2011 when our Chocolate Fondue tradition began with friends from Alaska.

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