Stuck in the kitchen getting last minute cooking done while your guests have already plowed through the appetizers and good conversation? Our fondue party ideas will keep you in the loop as each of you gets to prepare your own three-course meal together.
Fondue, although derived from the French word for ‘melt,’ originated in the French-speaking area of Switzerland many years ago as a way to expand the use of cheese, especially when it hardened.
It gained popularity here in the early 50s, particularly with the introduction of oil, broth and chocolate as dipping sauces. Today, it’s suitable for a complete 3 course meal.
Fondue can easily be made ahead of time then transferred to a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm until guests arrive. Using an electric fondue pot will ensure even distribution of heat.
Dust off your fondue pots, gather your long-stemmed forks and get ready to enjoy an evening of stress-free entertaining. Just remind guests to use their forks for transferring food from the pot to their plates—‘double dipping’ is a major fondue faux pas!
fondue party ideas and guidelines
on your mark, get set, dip!
- Cheese fondue is not only a tasty appetizer but also a wonderful way to get everyone, including you, involved in the conversation. No more slaving in the kitchen while your guests are partying without you.
- Use genuine Swiss cheese and save American cheese for sandwiches. Gruyere is a hard yellow cheese that been aged for a sweet yet savory taste—fat from cow’s milk acts as a natural sweetener.
- Emmentaler is another good choice—it’s a medium hard cheese that’s part-skim, not very sharp and has a slightly nutty taste.
- Melt cheese over moderate heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. A little cornstarch will thicken the consistency while wine or apple juice will thin it down.
- Don’t limit yourself to the usual crusty French bread breads—try rye, sourdough or simple breadsticks.
the main event
- Fondue is great dinner theatre! Whether you’re using hot oil, broth or a wine as a base, use an electric fondue pot rather than one that has an actual flame for warming—heat is distributed more evenly.
- Guests can try their hand cooking seafood, meats and veggies on center stage.
- Cut lean meat into 1/2″ cubes as the perfect size for lancing with a long fork or bamboo skewer. It should take 2-3 minutes to cook, depending upon your personal taste.
- Veggies such as mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini are great complements as well. If you choose to use potatoes, plan an additional cooking time of 5 minutes.
- Make sure to have a slotted spoon handy to hunt down any pieces that may have fallen off a fork—your guests may not all be javelin experts!
your just desserts
- Seriously—who can resist chocolate fondue? Chocolate, whether milk, dark or white, is melted to perfection for the ultimate dipping sauce.
- Spike it with liquors to make it even more delectable or simply add vanilla to bring things up a notch.
- Tell yourself it’s healthy by having a mouthwatering assortment of fresh fruit dippers such as sliced bananas, oranges, pineapples and strawberries.
- Go all out and have bite-sized pieces of pound cake and cheesecake as an extra sweet ending to your gathering.
- Think outside the pot! After all, we’re talking about chocolate, aren’t we?
Remind guests there’s no “double dipping.” Skewers should be used to transfer food from the pot to individual plates.