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Fondue Dinner Party - A Winter Dinner Party - Great for New Year's Eve!

Updated on October 23, 2014

Three Course New Year's Menu for a Fondue Dinner Party

A good New Year's Eve dinner menu should allow for a leisurely meal that inspires group interaction. New Year's Eve is a time for reflection on the year gone by and setting of New Year's resolutions. New Year's recipes should be easy to serve and easy to prepare ahead of time, so the host can partake in the New Year's festivities.

A three-course fondue is one such New Year's menu.

Fondue is a communal style meal, originating in Switzerland and made popular in the 60's and 70's. Dippers, speared with specialized forks, are dipped or cooked, depending on the type of fondue in a central communal pot.

Everything is prepared ahead of time and simply heated for serving, making fondue an ideal New Year's food choice. There are some specific items you will need for a three course Fondue New Year's Menu.

Equipment You Will Need

Fondue Pots

There a few options here. For the appetizer and dessert courses, you can use ceramic fondue warmers, which simply keep the contents warm, but does not heat them. They are available in individual or larger shared sizes. The cheese or chocolate fondue is prepared in a saucepan or double boiler and transferred to ceramic warmers for serving.

The original fondue pots were metal-either steel or cast iron. The contents are heated with a fondue burner that runs on fuel and has an open flame. More recently electric fondue pots have arrived on the market. They eliminate the open flame of original pots and are convenient. Fondue pots are available individually or as part of kits online at Amazon and a number of other retailers from $30 and up.

A chocolate fountain is also a variation on the fondue theme. Be aware though that the larger the fountain the more chocolate you need to keep it going! They retail online at from $30 at Amazon, and a number of other retailers.

Fondue Forks/Spikes

Each guest will need a single fondue fork for the appetizer and desert course, but ideally will have 2 -3 fondue forks for the entrée course. Fondue forks are generally color coded so guests do not confuse their fondue forks. They often come with Fondue pots in a kit, but you may need to purchase additional forks for large parties.

Fondue Partitioned Plates

Fondue plates for meat fondue have a number of partitions to keep raw meat, dipping sauces and cooked meat separate. Raw meat should be carefully isolated from cooked meats and dipping sauces. The same food safely rules apply in eating fondue as when preparing chicken and other raw meats in your kitchen. Fondue plates start from $25 for four plates online.

The Fondue Menu

Once your equipment is organized it's time to plan your New Year's menu. The recipes listed below are for traditional fondues. Recipes that are more contemporary are included in the links at the end of the article.

New Years Appetizer-Cheese Fondue Recipe

A traditional cheese fondue mixes Emnenthaler and Gruyeye cheeses with dry white wine and Kirsch.

Ingredients:


1 ½ cups Emnenthaler or Swiss Cheese
1 ½ cups Gruyeye Cheese
¾ - 1 cup dry white wine
Kirsch (cherry brandy)
½ clove garlic
Pepper
Nutmeg
2 tsp cornstarch (keeps the cheese from separating)

Method:

Mix cheeses and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.
Rub garlic on the bottom and sides of the fondue pot.
Add wine to pot and heat to just below boiling.
Reduce heat and slowly add cheese mixture until all melted as smooth.
Add Kirsch (optional) and spice with pepper and nutmeg.
If too thick add wine, if too runny add cheese.
Serve with Dippers.

Set the table with side plates and a fondue fork. Present the chopped vegetables and diced breads in small bowls on the table.

Dippers:

Variety of chopped vegetables: Broccoli, Carrot, Celery, Red Peppers
Variety of breads cubed with crust attached: Sourdough, crusty Italian bread, Rye
Breadsticks

Set the table with side plates and a fondue forks. Present the chopped vegetables and diced breads in small bowls on the table.

The New Year's recipe above is a traditional cheese fondue, but you will find numerous variations on the theme, such as Beer and Cheddar Fondue.

New Years Entree-Meat and Seafood Fondue

A traditional meat fondue is made by heating oil (vegetable, peanut, grapeseed or canola) in a steel or enameled cast iron fondue pot to just b below boiling. Do not use Ceramic fondue warming pots for this course, as the ceramic will crack at high temperatures. Spike cubes of raw meat onto fondue forks, cook in the oil, and eat with a variety of dipping sauces.

A lower fat and calorie option than oil is to use a broth, or stock for the cooking medium rather than the more traditional oil. Add Approximately 1 cup of wine to each 4-5 cups of stock. Use herbs, spices and vegetables to give the broth a unique flavor.

Create your own broth base, or find recipes such as, beef stock and red wine broth, chicken and dry white wine broth online.

Dippers:

Cubes of Beef
Chicken Strips
Mini Meatballs
Whole button mushrooms
Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots etc
Prepare ½ lb of meat for each guest.

Dipping Sauces:

Serve dipping sauces with your meat fondue for dipping cooked meats and seafood's. Sauces can be purchase ready made or mixed ahead of time using these recipes.

Fondue Dessert-Chocolate Fondue

There is nothing quite so decadent on a New Years dessert menu, as a chocolate fondue. And it's surprisingly easy to prepare. The recipe below is for a basic chocolate fondue, but you can add a variety of ingredients. Try coffee granules and/or coffee liqueur for a mocha chocolate fondue, caramel sauce and nuts for a Chocolate Turtle Fondue, or use dark or white chocolate for variety.

Ingredients:

12 oz chocolate pieces
¼ cup milk or light cream.

Method:
In a double boiler over simmering water, add chocolate in small amounts to ¼-cup milk.
Stir until melted and smooth.
If too thick add milk, if too runny add chocolate
Serve with dippers.

Dippers:

Fruit pieces: strawberries, banana, apple, pear, kiwi etc.
Brownies cubes
Angel Food Cake cubes
Marshmallow

When preparing dippers ahead of time sprinkle apple, pears and banana with lemon juice to prevent the fruit browning. Serve in individual tea-light warmed ceramic fondue pots or for couples, in a larger ceramic fondue warmer for a romantic shared desert.

More recipes can be found online.

Fondue Etiquette

Fondue is a communal meal with its' own associated etiquette. Traditionally, for a cheese fondue, bread dippers are eaten from the fondue fork. Be careful not to touch the fork to your mouth or lips, as the fondue fork will be returned into the communal pot.

For a meat fondue, use fondue forks only for spearing and cooking the raw meat. Spike the fondue fork through the meat, so that the metal not the meat touches the bottom of the fondue pot. This will prevent the meat from sticking to the pot while cooking.

Use your dinner fork to remove cooked meat from the fondue fork and to dip the cooked meat into the dipping sauces-but don't double dip. Also, take care to cook meat thoroughly and keep raw meats separate from cooked meat and dipping sauces. The same food safety rules apply in a fondue meal in the use of raw meat as in your kitchen.

Conclusion

Fondue is a group activity. Sharing a meal around a central pot makes it easy for guests to mingle.

To add to merriment, plan your fondue menu with a flavor theme, such as Mexican, Swiss or French. Add a fondue tradition such as taking a drink when you lose your dipper into the pot, and you will have the makings for a fun and lively New Year's Eve Dinner Party, that will see you and your guest through to the midnight countdown.

Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!

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