Winter is well and truly here, and it’s extremely easy to want to curl up and hibernate under a quilt in front of the TV. While this way to warm up winter definitely sounds appealing, we are generally social creatures and require more attention then the ability to hibernate as bears would. If the sounds of putting on your best outfits and bracing against the cold sounds way too terrifyingly real for you, you could always do what we did on the start of “Snowaggedon” down here in Australia and warm up your winter with a Fondue party! It’s a great way to warm up your winter entertaining and break bread with some of your favourite people – you can even do it in your pyjamas if you would like!
Here are some ways you can throw a fabulous fondue party to allow your party animal spirit to fight back against the cold:
1. Share the Responsibilities
You might be the one hosting this little get together, but that is a lot of cheese to make for a whole party! Fondue parties are about sharing a delicious meal with people that you care about because you are all eating from the one pot, so why not share the responsibilities of making the fondue as well? When inviting your guests, suggest that each couple bring their own style of fondue to the party and find out what it will likely be ahead of time, that way you can make sure that there isn’t five sets of chocolate fondue, and only one cheese one.
When we put together our fondue party, it was suggested that each couple make two styles of fondue platters each. We ended up with two cheese fondues (both very different in taste and texture – one was a caramelised onion fondue with tomato relish, and the other a classic style cheese one) a fondue broth that you dip your meat into and cook right then and there, and a chocolate dessert fondue. It worked really well, and it meant that everyone both shared the responsibility of cooking and eating. Sounds fair to me.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan!
You may think that having a cheese fondue party will be a casual affair – but you still need to put the work in to plan it like any other get together. Invite your guests and find out what type of fondue they are bringing, but also plan what you are going to put them in! If everyone brings the ingredients but no one has a pot or utensils because it wasn’t planned that way you are going to have a problem! So make sure you sit down and plan what items you need for your fondue party besides the ingredients (pots, bowls for the ingredients, serving utensils, candles and matches for the fondue set – you get the idea) and borrow, rent or buy them to make sure they are all ready to go. Remember, your guests can also help out with this and bring their own or borrowed fondue pots, so be open with them if you don’t have something.
3. Pace Yourself
When there is a lot of food on offer at a party, it is easy to eat, eat, eat and then go into a food coma for the rest of the afternoon and miss the party (hello Christmas dinners!) so give yourself a break and pace yourself! If you can, start at lunch time and have a cheese fondue, before having a break and then picking up another dish in the late afternoon, before having another break and enjoying a dessert fondue later in the day. Make sure you have fun activities planned in the break to keep the party atmosphere going (board games is a great cosy way you can keep your casual entertaining alive, and a good board game should last you one or two go’s before it’s time for your next feast) and don’t snack between fondues!
If you are doing the way that was suggested and going to stagger your meals, you want to make sure that everything is pre-prepared and ready to go so that you can enjoy your breaks between meals by playing games, and not grating a whole lot of cheese! Get your guests to do the same before coming over and prepare all of the ingredients so that it is ready to be thrown in a pot, mixed together and then eaten. You could even make the fondue before hand if so inclined and heat it up when it is ready to be served, but I definitely recommend making it fresh as it will be more greatly enjoyed this way.
5. Plan The Menu
Thinking about the menu and when everything will be served is crucial. You don’t want to lay out all the cheese fondues at once and then serve a lighter broth based fondue on it’s own. Mixing the flavours may not be suggested, but what it is served with definitely counts! Get a whole series of different items to dip depending on what fondue is being served, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Pickles and capsicum went just as well with a cheese fondue as bread did, so get daring! And make sure you take into consideration any vegetarians or lactose intolerant guests as well – you can get a mini fondue pot just for them!
So there you have it, five ways you can heat up your winter entertaining without having to brace the cold! A fondue party is a great way to bring your friends and family together and have a fun time eating and playing games, so it is highly recommended for these winter months! Check out these awesome recipes below as well if you need ideas on what to serve: