5 Tips to Throw a Fabulous Fondue Party
Fondue Parties-Not Just Relics of the 70's!
When you think of throwing a fondue party you may immediately dismiss it as too "retro". Perhaps you think fondue is outdated, or simply too fussy for your busy lifestyle. How wrong you are my friend! People near and far have rediscovering the magic of the fondue party, and why fondue works so very well for get togethers.
The premise behind fondue of preparing your own food provides a great solution for dinner parties with picky guests. No longer do you have to worry about kosher Aunt Sally and vegan Cousin Paul or your friend who hates tomatoes, simply chop up the raw beginnings and toss the food out there for the sharks to devour, each to his own.
Fondue is also really easy to prepare. Perhaps the fussiest course is the cheese course, it certainly requires the most ingredients, but a word to the wise, they sell the stuff in pre-made packages at Safeway! (This is the retailer I know who does anyhow, let me know if you know of another!) Other than the cheese course it's simply a matter of chopping and dicing bread, veggies and meat into cubes and arranging them in baskets and on plates. There's no need to worry about oven timers or deglazing pans, let your guests do the hard work for you!
Finally, fondue parties bring back the lost art of conversation. You know, what people used to do before smartphones came around. You have to do something while your meat is cooking in that pot, why not talk? Fondue is the ideal meal for a dinner party because stimulating conversation is bound to pop up out of sheer necessity.
So now that I have you chomping at the bit to throw a fabulous fondue party, here are some tips on how to fon-"do" it right.
Tip #1 Practice Food Safety
When you are doing a full course fondue party (cheese, meat and veggies, and chocolate) you need to be aware of and practicing food safety techniques. Because of the presence of raw meat cross-contamination is an all too real possibility, and nothing ruins a party more quickly that guests with food poisoning. Use different knives and cutting boards for meats and veggies and keep meat on separate plates. Educate your guests on about how long it will take to cook a piece of meat in the fondue pot: chicken can take up to five minutes to be fully cooked, while steak is more arbitrary depending on how well the individual likes it done. In general seafood and veggies (except for potatoes) take about 3 minutes. Potatoes take up to ten minutes, so it's a good idea to just dump them in the pot and fish them out with a slotted spoon after a while.
Tip # 2 Light the Dining Space Well
Don't get me wrong here, I love candlelit dinners. Soft light, good food, a handsome husband...but here's the thing. With fondue your guests are cooking their own food, and it's vital that they are able to accurately judge how well done said food is. You don't want anyone having to guess at whether that chicken is white or pink in the middle. So feel free to light some candles and have other soft sources of light, but also make sure the room is well lit in general so that guests feel confident in assessing whether or not their meat is done.
Some Items Should Not be Fondue!
Tip #3 Assign Everyone a Color
Another issue that can concern a fledgling fondue hostess is helping guests keep track of their fondue forks. "Oh, is this yourfork or mine?" "Gee, I hope that's not herpes on his lips..." You get the picture. The best way to avoid this is to buy colored fondue sticks, and then assign everyone a color. Depending on how large your party is you may have some color overlap. If you do, simply assign the guests with similiar colors to different fondue pots.
Tip # 4 Provide Enough Fondue Pots
One fondue pot (of any course, cheese, meat or chocolate) should be sufficient for about four to five people. If you are having a larger party make sure and provide more fondue pots, because having guests go hungry or get angry while waiting to cook their meat will make no one happy.
Tasty Sauce Recipes
- Light Green Goddess Dressing
Green Goddess is an earthy, herb-packed dressing with a tangy bite to it. The dressing is a delight drizzled over salads, chicken, fish or as a dip for crudites.
- Chef's Steak Sauce Recipe - Allrecipes.com
This delicious steak sauce of apple juice, molasses, and ginger will make you glad you have plenty to go around.
- Teriyaki Sauce in Ten Minutes
Tip #5 Provide Sauces for Dipping
Even if you did marinate the meat dipping sauces are still a crucial part of the proper fondue experience. Sauces turn meat from bland into magical and veggie from scary to scrumptious. Try including a creamy herb sauce (like green goddess or ranch) for veggies, a cocktail sauce for shrimp and seafood, and a few sauces for meat like teriyaki and horseradish (great for steak). Experiment and have fun!
Throwing a fabulous and successful fondue party isn't as hard as it may seem. Just follow these few tips, use common sense and your inner party animal, and let loose! People will be raving about your fondue party for years to come, trust me, I know from experience.
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