Looking for holiday party ideas? Consider an interactive dinner experience such as a fondue bar, in which your guests can prepare their own plates by dipping their choice of ingredients in melted cheese, frying their favorite type of meat in hot oil, or dunking various dessert items in liquid chocolate. Try one or more of these fun ideas for your next holiday get-together!
At your fondue station, arrange a spread of various foods for dipping according to the type of fondue you will be serving (e.g. bread, vegetables, and cooked meats for cheese fondue).
Another festive idea is to create a “tree” of dinner rolls for your guests to grab as they are dipping their various items into the fondue. Dip the rolls into the fondue or use them to create mini sandwiches. Check out our tree (shown right) stacked high with Martin’s Party Potato Rolls!
Traditional fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese, served in a pot over a portable heat source, in which bread and other accompaniments are dipped. Today, the term fondue applies to other types of “hot pot” meals such as chocolate (or dessert) fondue and fondue bourguignonne (frying meat in hot oil).
Read on for more information on the various types of fondue!
General Tips (Fon-Dos and Don’ts)
- DO: Use long-handled fondue forks for dipping. Color-coded handles are great for keeping everyone’s forks separate.
- DO: If using wooden skewers instead of forks, soak them in water beforehand to prevent burning.
- DO: Provide each guest with a separate dinner fork and plate to use for removing the hot food from the fondue fork/skewer.
- DO: Keep food bite-sized to make it easier to dip and allow for complete cooking (if applicable).
- DO: Stir the fondue frequently; use a figure-8 motion.
- DON’T allow children near the fondue pots or heating elements as they can get very hot and may splash.
- DON’T leave fondue pots unattended. Fondue pots should be supervised at all times.
- DON’T double dip your food into the fondue! Be sure to use a separate dinner fork for eating the prepared food to prevent cross-contamination.
Types of Fondue
There are three main types of fondue. Click the headings below to navigate to each section.
Traditional cheese fondue is made with Swiss cheese such as Gruyère or Emmental, and is usually combined with white wine or sherry (which helps keep a proper consistency), and flour or cornstarch (which helps prevent separation). Traditionally, a cut clove of garlic is rubbed on the bottom and sides of the fondue pot before the mixture is added, for extra flavor.
Get the recipe for Classic Swiss Fondue at: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/classic-swiss-fondue.
- Use a blend of cheeses such as Mozzarella, Provolone, or Parmesan, like in this Smoked Mozzarella Dip recipe.
- Try adding crumbled bacon and sautéed mushrooms to your cheese mixture, similar to this recipe for Smoky Bacon Mushroom Dip.
- Add a few extra ingredients to turn your fondue into a yummy dip such as Spinach or Spinach Artichoke dip.
How to Fondue
Cheese fondue is prepared by heating the cheese, wine, and any seasonings over the stovetop on a low heat setting, until the cheese is fully melted and at the proper consistency. If the fondue starts to separate or curdle, you can stir in some lemon juice.
Once the fondue is fully prepared, transfer the pot to your fondue station and keep warm over low heat such as a tea candle.
Supply each of your guests with a dipping utensil and a plate to use for their prepared foods. Take turns dipping food into the cheese. See below for some fun ideas!
What to Fondue
You can fondue any number of things—just think of what pairs well with melted cheese. A classic pairing is cubes of bread, but you can also dip anything from fruits and vegetables to snacks. You can even try dipping various items, then placing them onto Martin’s Party Potato Rolls to make mini appetizer sandwiches.
Try these great accompaniments:
- Cubed stale or toasted bread, or Martin’s Party Potato Rolls
- Steamed or cooked vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, artichoke hearts.
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Steamed baby potatoes or potato wedges
- Cooked cubed meat: steak, chicken, meatballs, pork, bacon
- Seafood: shrimp or lobster
- Cured meats: sausage, salami, sliced deli meat
- Fruit slices: apple, pear, tomatoes, grapes
- Snacks: pretzels, nuts, crackers, chips
- Bite-sized prepared appetizers: Bacon Cream Cheese Bites, Sandwich Skewers
- A ceramic fondue pot is ideal as this type of fondue does not require high heat
- If dipping meats, seafood, or heartier vegetables such as broccoli, make sure to cook them beforehand. The cheese will not be hot enough to cook them thoroughly.
This type of fondue consists of frying meat, seafood, and vegetables in hot oil. Unlike cheese fondue, raw meat is used here as the oil is hot enough to fully cook the meat. The cooked meat is then usually served with a variety of dipping sauces and other accompaniments.
Fondue Bourguignonne can also be prepared using other liquids in place of the oil.
Here are some other options:
- Broth: Similar to an Asian “hot pot,” the meat and vegetables are cooked in a pot of broth instead.
- Wine: You can also cook meat or seafood using red or white wine with added seasonings.
How to Fondue
Before heating the oil or liquid for the fondue, start by preparing your meat and other ingredients. Trim meat, cut into cubes, and marinate if desired. Wash and dry raw vegetables and cut into bite-sized pieces; cover until ready to use to prevent browning. Wash and dry seafood, devein shrimp; cut up if necessary. Store everything in the refrigerator (raw meat on a separate plate) until ready to cook.
Choose your cooking liquid: oil, broth, wine, etc. Good oils for fondue include peanut, canola, and vegetable oil. If using broth, it is best to pair the type of broth with the type of meat (i.e. beef broth with beef). White wine fondue works well with seafood.
Add the oil or liquid to a metal fondue pot (no more than 1/3 full) and heat over the stove until it reaches 375*F. Transfer the entire fondue pot to its stand and turn on the heat source or burner.
Supply each of your guests with a dipping utensil and a plate to use for their prepared foods. Make sure to dry off the meat and vegetables before dipping in the hot oil to prevent splatter. Take turns cooking food in the oil. Depending on the size of your pot, four or more people should be able to cook at the same time.
A great thing about this type of meal is that it allows each guest to prepare the meat to his or her preference (i.e. rare, medium rare, well done). A general rule of thumb for red meat is 30 seconds for rare, 45 seconds for medium-rare, or 1 minute for well done. Poultry requires 2 minutes of cooking. Lamb and pork require about a minute.
Serve with a variety of dipping sauces to pair with the different types of meat. Some great option include hollandaise, horseradish, barbeque, teriyaki, vinaigrette, salsa verde, chimichurri, aioli, or pesto. Find more ideas here.
Check out this step-by-step how-to: https://www.wikihow.com/Fondue-Meat.
What to Fondue
Fondue Bourguignonne is a fun method for cooking a variety of foods, not just meat and vegetables. Think of any foods that are traditionally cooked in oil or deep-fried. You can also try frying several ingredients, then placing them onto a sliced Martin’s Potato Roll to make mini appetizer hoagies.
Try these great options:
- Raw cubed meat: beef, pork, chicken
- Raw seafood: shrimp, crab, lobster
- Raw cubed vegetables: bell peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, potatoes
- Raw mushrooms
- Martin’s Potato Rolls and/or Bread– turn them into donuts or fries!
Turn your cooked meat and veggies into delicious sandwiches like the below:
- Philly Cheesesteak
- Hanger Steak Sandwich
- Churrasco and Chimichurri Sandwich
- Pork and Jelly Canapes
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Chicken Spiedies
- Honey Garlic Chicken Hoagies
- It is best to use a metal fondue pot, such as a stainless steel one, since it requires high heat. A ceramic pot may crack.
- If you don’t have a thermometer, you can toss a cube of bread into the oil to test the temperature—it should brown within 30 seconds.
- Heat the oil in the same pot you plan to use at your fondue station. Do not try to transfer the hot oil or liquid to a separate pot.
This type of fondue consists of dipping fruits and other desserts into a sweet mixture, usually chocolate. It is both delicious and simple to prepare. All you need to make chocolate fondue is semisweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (shavings or chips), a bit of cream, and any extra flavorings such as vanilla extract.
Try these other variations:
- Dark Chocolate
- White Chocolate
How to Fondue
Heat heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk to simmering in a medium saucepan; use a double boiler if available. Lower heat and add the chocolate (or caramels, etc.), stirring constantly until melted. Add flavored extracts, if desired, and whisk until smooth.
Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm over a burner or tea candle.
Supply each of your guests with a dipping utensil and a plate, then enjoy dipping your favorite fruits and dessert items!
What to Fondue
- Sliced or whole fruit: apple, pear, peaches, banana, pineapple, mango, grapes
- Berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries
- Dried fruit: apricots, figs
- Pound cake cubes
- Donut holes
- Snacks: pretzels, nuts, crackers, cookies
- French toast cubes or sticks
- Tropical Fruit Panzanella Skewers
- Adding some oil such as coconut oil to the chocolate mixture may help maintain proper consistency.
- It is best to use chocolate with above 50% cocoa solid content
- Do not overheat the chocolate as this tends to make it harden.
- It is best to melt the chocolate using a double boiler, not over direct heat.
- It is best to use a candle to keep the chocolate warm and melted.
- If you chill the fruit before dipping, it helps the fondue stick better.
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