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What is a Fondue Party?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A fondue party is a great way to center an event on food and fun. By creating several different fondues and providing a variety of dipping ingredients, you can ensure a casual atmosphere that begs for experimentation. Fondue parties are great for the daring chef, and as an added benefit, make it incredibly easy to pair food with wonderful wine.

A fondue is a melted concoction, usually kept warm to preserve the melted texture. Fondues can be savory or sweet, and are meant to be paired with a variety of foods for dipping. Typically, a communal fondue pot is surrounded with appropriately paired foods, and often skewers or forks to facilitate dipping. Fondues are easy to make and fun to play around with, and a fondue party can be a chance to practice your melting skills.

Savory fondues are most often cheese-based, leading to an endless variety of flavor combinations. Traditional versions hail from Switzerland, where the dish was invented. For a classic Swiss fondue, try combining gruyere with Emmental cheese, melting together with a few mushrooms for flavoring. Create a southwest cheese fondue by melting pepper jack, sharp cheddar and ranch dressing. Or go for a smoky sauce using heavy gouda or smoked mozzarella, garlic and a little mustard.

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Usually, cheese fondues are served with small pieces of bread and vegetables, like celery, carrots and tomatoes. If you are making several cheese versions for your fondue party, try matching the cheese with an appropriate bread that will enhance the flavor. Use a dark, homey wheat with a cheddar fondue or a sharp sourdough with a fontina and onion combination. Feel free to make several test batches to find good combinations. Chances are good that you’ll eat them regardless of whether or not they’re the perfect match.

Sweet fondues are often chocolate based, paired with cake or fruit. A classic chocolate fondue is a slow-melted marriage of semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream. Spice up your fondue party desserts by adding a splash of flavored liqueur, like triple sec, tequila or Tia Maria. Make a wonderful s’more fondue by adding marshmallows to the mix and serving with graham crackers. Or go for true decadence by combining a classic chocolate mixture with caramel, swirling carefully for a two tone effect.

A fondue party is fundamentally casual, with party guests usually gathered around the tables to converse and nibble. The basic flavors of cheese, chocolate and veggies and fruit make a fondue party easy to choose beverages for. A basic white or red will pair well with the savory fondues, while you might want to break out a nice port or dessert wine for the dessert courses.

While fondue can be made in a standard saucepan, warming fondue pots are an excellent choice for a fondue party. These can be purchased at most kitchen supply stores, and will keep your mixtures at an even temperature. Though price can vary based on features, fondue pots can easily be found for between $30-$70 US dollars. If the party is a success, expect calls from your guests asking to borrow your fondue pots within a few days.

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croydon
Post 3

If you're going to do this you should have fun with your fondue recipes. Don't just provide bread and strawberries, you should mix it up and dare people to be brave about what they dip in their fondue.

Hot peppers, for example, could be amazing in cheese (or even chocolate!) and you might want to provide pretzels or maybe even bacon to dip into the chocolate.

irontoenail
Post 2

@browncoat - Unless you really love your parties I wouldn't get a chocolate fountain for fondue. They are a real pain to set up and clean and the cheap ones particularly don't work very well. I just don't think it's worth buying one, especially if you can just rent one for something like a wedding and use a proper fondue pot for other occasions.

Fountains aside, it is a really easy and effective way to set up a party. It's even arguably healthier than most party snacks because you can use fresh vegetables and fruits with the cheese and chocolate.

People have fun with it and if you provide them with plenty of napkins they don't tend to make too much mess.

browncoat
Post 1

You can even get a fondue fountain for relatively cheap these days, although I don't know if I've ever seen one for cheese. It's usually for chocolate or something else sweet like caramel.

I went to a buffet once where they had a chocolate fountain and all kinds of fruits and pastries to dip into it and you could barely get near it because there were so many people wanting to try.

It is a lovely, romantic idea, but in the end it was just chocolate sauce so I think it's the novelty factor that people like.

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