204 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride. 970/728-5028
Fondue is a guilty pleasure. Who doesn’t feel just a little compromised, at least in dietary terms, feasting on melted cheese and bread, and especially enjoying the crispy bits that collect on the sides and bottom of the fondue pot?
It’s caloric and rich and, cheesy, in both senses of the word, like dirndls, yodeling, The Sound of Music, and other icons of alpine kitsch.
Now you can indulge in this Swiss/French vice in Telluride, at the new restaurant The Alpinist and the Goat, upstairs from the Elinoff Gallery on Colorado Ave., and operated by the husband and wife team of Ryan Smith and Krystal Marston.
The space resembles a Swiss or French fondue restaurant in the nook that it occupies, in part because you can do fondue with a relatively modest kitchen and without all apparatus of a full-on restaurant.
Fondue is meant to be casual and unfussy. Good wine, good cheese, good bread and a cozy atmosphere are all it takes. The Alpinist and the Goat delivers on all four, plus dessert fondue as the only possible finale. That’s when gooey hot chocolate and gooey hot caramel take the place of bubbling cheese and an odd assortment of cookies and cakes take the place of bread so you an finish a sinful meal with even more sinfulness.
May as well, right?
The cheese fondue runs right around $20 per person, with a two person minimum, and there are five variations, Traditional (white wine), Basque (chorizo), Cortina d’Ampezzo (gorgonzola) and Mont Blanc (brie), plus a Cajun Fondeaux (crawfish) you would almost certainly not find within a hundred kilometers of Chamonix.
Rounding out the offerings, there are some nice affordable wines by the glass, a martini menu and beers by the bottle.
All this makes for a fun and convivial evening, and for the Telluride tourist, is especially apropos, because when in Rome… or in this case when in a mountain town, or more in this case, when in an alpine town in Colorado’s San Juans, there are certain expectations to be met.
Fondue fits the scenery and The Alpinist and the Goat could be a perfect way to finish an arduous summer day hiking or climbing in the high country or a winter day of schussing on the slopes.