happy birthday bella eats!


Across the nation, many dining tables have looked like this over the last week:

pumpkin merge 1

Today, Brian and I will join a few friends and make a similar mess as we celebrate Halloween and Bella Eats’ First Birthday! There will be pumpkin carving and fondue makingapple dipping and kettle corn popping along with a tad bit of hard apple cider drinking.  We’ll front porch-sit and hand out candy bars to costumed kids (from our friends’ house, as the kiddos seem to skip our street every year) as we, or maybe just I, marvel at how quickly the last year has gone by.

swiss pumpkin-4

I find it pretty hard to believe that it has been one year since I, on a whim one Friday evening, decided to start Bella Eats.  How time flies. Thank you to all of my old friends, those of you who stood by even after the big change from food diary to recipe blog.  Thank you to new friends, those who found their way here via TastespottingFoodgawker, and other esteemed food blogs.  Thank you to my family and local Charlottesville friends, many of whom have only recently learned of Bella Eats because for so long I was too shy to share it with you.  Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing your comments.  Thank you for being here.

swiss pumpkin-5

For you, dear readers, I have a recipe that you simply must make this Autumn.  In fact, I hope that you will read this in time to carve out a spare pumpkin today, on Halloween, to fill with strong swiss cheese, bread and heavy cream.  Its a grown-up spin on a classic favorite, warm and gooey and eye-rollingly good.  It is absolutely a dish that one shares with friends – nothing this good should be kept to oneself.

Enjoy, and have a Happy Halloween!

pumpkin merge 3

Don’t forget to save your seeds.  They are delicious toasted with a dash of cayenne pepper for a little kick.

Pumpkin Fondue

from Gourmet, November 2008

serves 8 as an appetizer or side dish – the recipe is easily cut in half if you want to use a smaller pumpkin


  • 1 (7-lb) orange pumpkin
  • 1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (6 oz)
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Place rack in lower third of oven.  Preheat to 450*.
  2. Toast baguette slices on a baking sheet until tops are crisp (bread will be pale) for about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
  3. Cut a 3-inch diameter hole from the top of the pumpkin.  Scrape the seeds and any loose fibers from the interior of the pumpkin with a large spoon.  Save the seeds for another purpose if you wish.  Season the inside of the pumpkin with 1/2 tsp of salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, mixed together the grated cheese.
  5. Place a layer of toasted bread in the bottom of the pumpkin.  Cover with about 1 cup of grated cheese and 1/2-cup of cream mixture.  Continue layering bread, cheese and cream until the pumpkin is filled to 1/2-inch below opening.  Make sure to use all of the cream mixture, but you may have some bread and cheese left over.
  6. Cover pumpkin with top and place in foil lined roasting pan.  Rub the outside of the pumpkin with olive oil.  Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 60-90 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving, making sure to scrape some pumpkin flesh into bowls with the bread/cheese mixture.


Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


  • fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • spray oil
  • sea salt
  • cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread seeds over foil and spray with oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  Stir with spatula and spread seeds evenly across sheet.
  3. Toast seeds until golden brown, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes.

23 responses to “happy birthday bella eats!

  1. YAY!!!! This makes me happy!

  2. What a creative and yummy fall recipe! Happy Birthday bella eats!!!


  4. Happy anniversary – look at what great things you have achieved in just a year!!!! I love the look of the pumpkin fondue – very innovative!

  5. Happy birthday!!! Mine’s just around the corner. 🙂

  6. What a wonderful year!! that pumpkin fondue looks amazing, too 🙂 happy halloweeen!

  7. Happy Blogiversary/Halloween!!!!

    We toasted pumpkin seeds this year too! They are so great for snacking on!

  8. Yay Bella Eats!

    I let my blog birthday pass me by (stupid Bar Exam) but I am glad you are celebrating. I am up and ready to prep for a halloween party of my own.

    We carved pumpkins last night, it was fun!

  9. Happy Blogiversary and Halloween! Look at all the awesome, beautiful posts you’ve done in a year. You should be quite proud.

  10. I just wanted to delurk and say that I love your blog (I found it earlier this fall). I went to UVA as an undergrad, and live outside of Philadelphia now, so your blog always makes me feel a little closer to Virginia/C’ville – thank you for that. I can’t wait to make these pumpkin seeds! Hope you have a wonderful blogiversary!

  11. Happy Blogiversary!

    That fondue sounds amazing. I think I just found my appetizer for Thanksgiving!

  12. Happy birthday blog! I’m so happy I found your blog…it’s fast become one of my absolute favorites…!

  13. Happy blog anniversary. I just came across your blog a couple of weeks ago, but it’s becoming one of my favs. I like your writing, but also I’m from C’ville and it’s good to see that there’s somebody there that cares about the food they eat where it and where it comes from. Makes me feel connected to home.

  14. Thanks everybody!!! It has been an amazing year! 🙂

    Mary Frances – I’m so glad you’ve delurked! Welcome, and thanks for reading. I love hearing from others who love Charlottesville as much as I do. 🙂

    Ke – Welcome! I love hearing from another C’ville fan. Are you still in the area?

  15. oh wow!! this is beautiful! and looks so delicious!!

  16. Happy Belated Birthday Bella Eats!

  17. This sounds like the most amazing thing ever. No, seriously. EVER. Pumpkin, bread cheese, cream? Holy cow, sign. me. up!!!

    Congrats on one year!

  18. First off, that pumpkin fondue looks ahhhmaazing. I am not usually into novelty spelling, but you’ve pushed me that far with that one. So yummy looking.

    Second, happy birthday dear site! I am so glad to know you through this little space of yours, and cannot wait to see what the next year brings. All the best for it, my friend.

  19. Both of these delightful recipes speak to the essence of this season with unique zest.

    Happy birthday, Bella Eats! Cheers to the many culinary delights to come!

  20. Wow, could a meal be any more adorable? I don’t think so.

  21. Bella, sadly no longer in C’ville in SF now, but I come back at least once a year to visit. Everytime I do I day dream about moving back it’s a good place to be.

  22. Happy B-day to Bella Eats!

    I’ve been reading you since around last November I think. I’ve always liked your writing style, and of course your gorgeous photography!

    If you have a chance, look for Crispin Hard Apple Cider – its just slightly sweet and so good!

  23. First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA EATS! 🙂

    Secondly, pumpkin fondue?! GENIUS. I love the idea and recipe you provided and must try it asap!

    I love reading your blog, I hope you have a glorious day, pretty girl!

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