If you’ve never had fondue before, you are seriously missing out! Fondue is delicious and a fantastic excuse to get together with friends or family. When I was a kid we had fondue once a year, on New Year’s Eve. But you can do a fondue party any time of year, although it seems to go hand in hand with the colder winter months. The options for fondue are many, but we kept things fairly simple for our fondue dinner party menu.
Fondues are great when you’re hosting a crowd, and if guests want to contribute it’s easy for them to bring a fondue dipper or two (just make sure you coordinate so everyone doesn’t bring the same dipper). Fondue dinner parties can seem so 1960s, and I say what’s wrong with that?? Get your retro on and start planning your next get together!
There are a few different choices for fondue pots, and what you choose will depend on what type of fondue you are making. It is best to use the specific fondue pot that is made for the type of fondue you’re having. For instance, you would not want to use a cheese fondue pot for an oil fondue, it won’t get hot enough and can actually cause the cheese fondue pot to crack. The four types of fondue pots are:
- Cheese fondue pot: these are typically heated with an alcohol or gel fuel burner which you can buy at most grocery stores. They are usually made of ceramic or earthenware, and in my opinion have the most retro look of all fondue pots.
- Broth/oil fondue pot: made of cast iron, copper, or most often stainless steel, these fondue pots are used for heating broth or oil to very hot temperatures, hot enough to cook meat.
- Chocolate fondue pot: most of these are ceramic, earthenware, or even porcelain. They are heated with a tealight.
- Electric fondue pot: While these don’t look as nice as the cheese or chocolate fondue pots these can typically be used for all types of fondue.
If you don’t currently have any fondue pots and are looking to purchase some, consider what types of fondue you think you’ll be making and choose accordingly. The electric fondue pots are usually the most expensive, but are much more versatile than the other types. Fondue pots will all come with a set of forks as well.
The Cheese Fondue
There are four main types of fondue: cheese, oil, broth, and chocolate. We chose to do cheese and chocolate for our party since we had quite a few kids coming and the idea of piping hot oil makes me nervous. And what could be better than dipping a variety of foods into a delicious bowl of hot, melty cheese?
If you do have littles coming to your party you may want to provide an alternative for the main course of cheese fondue. Most cheese fondue recipes or prepared fondues are made with fairly strong cheeses such as Gruyere, emmental and Swiss, which are very strong cheeses and typically not enjoyed by children. They also often use quite a bit of kirsch liquor and/ or wine.
There are many recipes for cheese fondue available online; they all basically have the same ingredients so don’t stress too much about finding the perfect one. To make life easier you can always go for a prepared cheese fondue. We used the one from Trader Joe’s, and it was delicious. It’s also probably more cost-effective than buying all the different cheeses and wine that most recipes require.
Once you have your cheese fondue sorted, you need to decide on what “dippers” you will serve alongside. Here are some great choices for cheese fondue:
- Crusty bread cubes
- Focaccia cubes
- Cheese straws
- Lightly steamed broccoli
- Lightly steamed cauliflower
- Sliced apples (trust me, this is AMAZING)
- Roasted baby potatoes
- Cured meats (salami, meatballs, sausage, pepperoni)
- Cherry tomatoes
You can use whatever you like. Anything that you think goes with cheese will probably go well in a fondue, just make sure it won’t fall apart while you’re dipping.
The Chocolate Fondue
Mmmm, dessert. And what could be better than dipping sweet treats into warm dark chocolate? I can’t think of much! The possibilities are endless. Here is the chocolate fondue recipe we used:
- 12 ounces of chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave on medium-high power for one minute at a time, stirring after each minute until completely melted. Transfer to fondue pot over lit tealight or on low setting if using an electric pot.
Super easy right? Now time for your dippers:
- Vanilla and/or chocolate cake cubes
- Marshmallows (if you want to get really fancy make your own, recipe for peppermint marshmallows which go wonderfully with chocolate can be found here)
- Pineapple chunks
- Apple slices
- Banana slices
- Dried fruits
Fondue dinner parties are usually fairly casual events and great for a crowd. If you have several fondue pots you can serve your fondue seated, otherwise it can be hard for guests to access all the dippers. A better choice is a table setup with the fondue pot(s) and the dippers set out around. I used wooden cutting boards and cheese boards to serve the dippers for a rustic feel. You can always use bowls or serving platters as well.
You don’t have to do too much decorating for a fondue party, I put a bit of greenery on the table and used vases that kept with my rustic theme. Depending on where you’re placing your fondue table you may want to add a few tealights as well.
Party Like It’s 1969
Fondue parties are so much fun, I love their retro feel and the food is comforting and delicious. Depending on how many fondue pots you have (you can always ask your friends to bring theirs!) fondue parties can be great for larger crowds and make entertaining easy and relaxing for the host.
I hope you enjoyed my fondue party posts and were able to find some ideas for your own fondue get together. If you have any questions or would like to share your favorite fondue recipes and dippers, please leave a comment below!