Looking for dinner party theme that looks far more intricate than it actually is? An all-in fondue fête fulfills hostess duties without over-the-top table settings or elaborate recipes. Whether in the form of a happy hour, a Sunday watch party (hello, Oscars!) or a cozy night in for the family, this set-up naturally invites interaction and participation — a recipe that truly brings everyone together!
Bring on the fondue burners and stir up a leisurely get-together with decadent beverages and bites.
Fondue parties must be approachable to your guests, so a large central buffet is recommended for easy access to the dippers and fondue pots. A gold tablecloth instantly adds class (and catches the drips for easy clean-up!).
Scatter your two fondue pots and center a large wood board (available at Social) for dipping décor. Let the seasonal hues of the toppings grow your color palette — I especially love a pop of green pear or red strawberry for contrast.
Mini plates let guests build up their bites — no need to revisit the fondue station for each dip.
A white wine Gruyère fondue is the ultimate party-pleaser for any occasion. Balanced but not too overbearing, it’ll elevate a cocktail party or easily substitute the expected game night spinach dip.
- 1 1/2 pounds Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 2/3 cup dry white wine
- Toss cheese and cornstarch together, and set aside. Bring wine to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in cheese mixture. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly in a figure-8 motion, until cheese is melted and the mixture thickens slightly, approx. 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place a fondue pot in the middle of the table. Pour cheese mixture into the pot and place over a gentle heat source.
If you’re not too tired of chocolate from Valentine’s Day, use your finest dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips for a velvety dessert display.
- 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Heat cream over medium heat in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles begin to form. Turn heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Immediately transfer to a fondue pot heated at low or with a low flame, or serve straight from the pot.
Though a handful of ingredients are specific to cheese versus chocolate, it is extra fun to choose flexible ingredients that work with either recipe. For example, a Bing cherry is decadent when dipped in dark chocolate, but it also offers a tart foundation for melted cheese.
Get your guests excited by inviting them to bring their own creative dippers to the party: a grandmother’s famed pound cake recipe, prosciutto from the neighborhood butcher shop or a bowl of gourmet gummy candies from Valentine’s Day.
Since a sit down set-up is not required for this affair, substitute traditional place cards with fondue dipper tags. Write each guest’s name on a wooden tag, and tie it with twine around the end of the stick. You’ll avoid confusion and create an instant sense of “place” for your party-goers.
Follow a savory or sweet bite with a warm serving of mulled wine. Serve your nutmeg and cinnamon-infused sip in a copper mug (available at The Stovall Collection) with a stick of cinnamon.
And since every gathering is worth celebrating, bubbly is a refreshing accompaniment to a rich Gruyère. Pour Prosecco in elegant flutes and toast with friends and family to a fruitful February.
Thanks to Micki Martin Photography for the gorgeous photography!
Find more great recipes and entertaining ideas in our “Food & Dining” section.