We just came back from an fantastic weekend playing in the snow in Banff. After lapping up all the powder, we tucked into what’s gotta be one of my favourite aspects of winter, the après ski meal. If you’re looking for a retro, Swiss chalet kind of meal (but not in the chain restaurant way), check out my favourite winter supper. It’s casual enough for the family and compelling enough for a dinner party.

First Course: Cheese Fondue

Now, I’ve grated my own Gruyère and Emmental before. To be honest, I can’t taste a significant enough difference to warrant the extra cost and effort, when fondue packets are so readily available. Here’s my method:

Step 1: Purchase cheese fondue kit from the grocery store.

Step 2: Squeeze contents into your parent’s old fondue pot or heat up in a saucepan.

Step 3: Serve with cubes of french bread, cut apples and charred red peppers.

If I’m impressing guests, I’ll rub a cut clove of garlic along the bottom of the fondue pot and add a splash of Kirsch, a cherry flavoured brand used when making fondue from scratch. Grating nutmeg on top is also a crowd pleaser. And since you have the fresh nutmeg out, why not whip up an eggnog at the same time?

Second Course: Pasta al Forno with Mushrooms and Sausage

I found this savoury dish in The Globe and Mail three years ago. The faded newspaper recipe is well spattered with tomato sauce, as making this pasta (goblet of wine in hand), is something I do often on chilly winter afternoons. It’s a cinch to pull together, and I now prefer it to lasagna any day. You could even throw it in the slow cooker if you’re of that persuasion.

Final Course: Gooey Chocolate Dessert

Bubbling cheese, baked pasta, the only proper conclusion to a hearty meal such as this, is a decadent chocolate dessert. I like to whip up Nigella’s flourless chocolate brownies with hot chocolate sauce, because it’s gluten-free after all. But after a hard day on the hill, a brownie mix does the trick just as well. I’m a fan of this one from Ghiradelli that I make my friend, the IBMer, pick up for me at Cosco. Sometimes I even share the outcome with her, but not too often. She doesn’t need any more energy. Come to think of it, neither do I.

Do you have a favourite winter meal? I’d love to hear it. Please comment below.