Fondue Party Tips and Recipes

Fondue Party Rob Meinychuk/Getty Images

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 over-thickening.

Choosing a Fondue

Begin by determining what kind of fondue party you want to host. The time of day and nature of the party will help determine the selection. If it's a cocktail gathering, a cheese fondue is ideal for small bites. A meat broth recipe is guaranteed to satisfy a more substantive brunch, lunch or even dinner. For a low-key just dessert or after hours affair, a chocolate fondue would be fun to serve. Take inspiration from fondue's origin and popularity, where the 70s or Swiss chalet-themed event could be the basis of your next party.

Setting the Stage

  • You'll need at least one, if not several, fondue pots. Most pots can accommodate six dippers. You may also want to use extra pots if you're cooking different types of fondue.
  • Cover your table with an easy-to-clean cloth. Fondue can get messy as the dipped piece is carried from the pot to the plate.
  • When you make a meat-type fondue, give each guest individual bowls or ramekins with sauce for dipping after the meat has been cooked.
  • Now more than ever, entertaining safely must follow hygienic guidelines (see below). Guests should dip with their fondue forks, then place the dipped pieces on a dish to eat with a dinner fork.
  • Light a fire in your fireplace to add to the 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 of the cheese varieties.
  • You can gauge the popularity of fondue by the sheer volume of recipes available for this dish.

How to Choose the Right Fondue Pot

Considered a wedding registry staple, a kitchen cabinet with a fondue pot assures a host's devotion to the art of innovative entertaining. Fondue pots aren't overly complicated. There's the traditional version that uses a gel container or pot burner while the newer electric versions are safe and easy to work. But what assures a fondue pot that's good enough to pass down to the next generation of fondue enthusiasts? Select a pot that works with both your cooking sensibility and design aesthetic. Go for trusted brands, read reviews, and make sure there is a warranty or seamless return policy.

Fondue Recipes

If you'd like to pursue the search for the perfect fondue recipe on your own, look into these recipe collections:

Broth

Cheese

Chocolate

Rules of Fondue

Hygiene and Etiquette

Follow some of the guidelines provided by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which recommends the following when serving fondue and meat dishes:

  • Begin by preparing food with separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils. Do not have raw meat come into contact with other food.
  • Poultry must always be cooked or fried.
  • Be sensitive to your guest's safety by making sure all tools and accessories are available that promote clean and hygienic standards. This includes providing napkins, sanitary wipes, dipping fork, dinner fork, and two plates (one for the raw meat and the other for cooked foods and sauces).
  • Guests should use their dipping fork to cook the food in the pot and then use their dinner fork for eating.
Popular Dipping Choices for Fondues
 Cheese  Chocolate  Broth
 Vegetables Fruit & berries  Bread
 Bread  Cake  Crackers
Cooked meat Granola Potatoes
Pretzels Marshmallows Vegetables
Chips Dried fruit Dumplings
Great food selections that can be intermixed with each fondue to preference. Avoid foods with heavy tastes, like fish and bacon, which could overpower the fondue pot.