The perfect party for a casual, seasonal get-together with friends may just be one held over a fondue pot. Besides the comfort of gooey cheese and bread or luscious melted chocolate and cake squares, there's the silliness of retrieving your lost tidbit in the communal pot. You can't help but interact as you wait your turn to dip a morsel into the melted goodness.
There are three main types of fondue: melted cheese, melted chocolate, and an Asian hot-pot type where meat is cooked in oil or broth.
Most of this party can be prepped before your guests' arrival. You can slice the meat and chop the cubes of bread, pound cake, or fruit hours before your party. The cheese and chocolate for your sauces can be chopped, grated, or cubed in advance too. You should wait until your guests have arrived to heat the ingredients together to avoid overthickening.
Choosing a Fondue
Begin by determining which kind of fondue party you want to host. The time of day and nature of the party will help to determine the selection.
If it's a cocktail gathering, a cheese fondue is ideal for small bites. There are many cheeses to choose from, including Swiss, Gouda, Gruyere, and cheddar. For dipping, consider cubes of crusty bread, pretzels, apples, broccoli, bell peppers, pears, carrots, or roasted potatoes.
A meat broth recipe is guaranteed to satisfy a more substantive brunch, lunch, or even dinner. There are many ways to flavor the broth, including with onions, celery, garlic, and spices. Then, for dipping you can use meatballs, cocktail sausages, or favorite meats sliced thinly. It's also nice to offer some veggies for dipping, as well.
For dessert or simply an after-dinner gathering, a chocolate fondue would be fun to serve. You can use your favorite types of chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate bars. And for dipping, provide some bitesize fresh fruits, such as bananas and strawberries, as well as cubes of angel food or pound cake, cookies, marshmallows, and other sweet treats.
Fondue Dipping Etiquette
Follow standard food-safety guidelines when preparing fondue, such as not allowing raw meat to come in contact with other foods and keeping cutting boards and utensils separate. Also, be sure to provide plenty of napkins, dipping forks, dinner forks, and plates for guests.
Some basic fondue dipping etiquette guidelines include:
- Use the fondue fork to dip the food. Then, slide the food off the fork onto your plate, and eat it with your dinner fork.
- Do not put your fondue fork in your mouth.
- Do not put food on your dinner fork or hold it in your hands for dipping.
- Do not double dip food.
- After you've dipped your food, rotate it over the pot so the excess drips off and doesn't make a mess on the table.
Fondue Party Tips
To throw a fun and delicious fondue party, here are some helpful tips:
- Most fondue pots can accommodate six dippers. So you might need more than one pot, depending on how many guests you have. You also might need extra pots if you want to cook different types of fondue.
- Cover your table with an easy-to-clean tablecloth or runner. Fondue can get messy as the dipped food is carried from the pot to the plate. Also, consider providing some wet wipes for guests.
- Consider lighting candles or a fire in your fireplace to add cozy ambiance.
- Play Swiss music in honor of the birthplace of this dish.
- Wine or beer are often served as accompaniments to fondue. Cider would also work well with many cheese varieties.
Fondue Recipes to Try
If you're interested in making your own fondue, check out these recipes: