Fondue You Love It? 3 Ways Fondue Will Kickstart Your Holiday Gatherings

This is the time of the year when our social calendars get sent into overdrive. However you celebrate them, the Holidays are the one time of the year that you’ll see that great-aunt from Idaho and she’ll ask you if you’ve ever met that ‘nice boy who started that face-space on the Internet!’

Luckily, here in the Silicon Valley, we know how to party, and one of the best ways to break the ice at a family get-together is by providing a choice of savory and sweet in a communal dipping pot and watching the fun begin!

Fondue may be a party throwback to the 1970s, but here in the Bay Area, we take classic traditions and make them current with restaurants like La Fondue in Saratoga and The Melting Pot in Larkspur. However, enjoying a warm pot of fresh fondue doesn’t mean you have to spend money at the latest restaurant – it’s as simple as investing in a pot at Crate and Barrel and making sure you have enough skewers for everyone. These three recipes are easy to melt, easy to eat, and will satisfy every taste bud at the party – from sweet to savory and everything in between.

Cheese Fondue1214fondue-708186_1920

Ingredients
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 pound shredded Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

Directions
Simmer wine in fondue pot. Add Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese, 1/4 pound at a time. Stir after each addition of cheese until melted. Stir in flour. When all the cheese has melted, stir in salt and nutmeg. Serve with cut-up French bread.

Chocolate Fondue1214ice-cream-702938_1920

Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound premium semisweet chocolate (recommended: Lindt or Callebaut)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy
Strawberries, bananas, pineapple, brownies, marshmallow, cookies, or any other dipping item of your choice

Directions
Put approximately 4 inches of water in the saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Place the mixing bowl on top and pour in the heavy cream; let heat. Meanwhile, break up or chop chocolate into small pieces. When the cream feels hot to the touch, add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and brandy.

Pour into the fondue pot and light the handy fuel underneath; keep the flame low as not to burn the fondue. Arrange strawberries, bananas, pineapple, brownies, marshmallow, cookies or any of your favorite items on a platter and enjoy.

Meat Fondue (Fondue Bourguignonne)1214goulash-74254

Ingredients
4 cups vegetable oil, or mix of vegetable and olive oils
8 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into small cubes or strips
8 ounces chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into small cubes or strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup ground pork
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon mustard
4 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered and cooked until tender
1/2 cup each of 3 sauces (such as Aioli, barbecue sauce, Bearnaise and/or horseradish cream)

Directions
Heat oil in a fondue pot or 2-quart saucepan until very hot (375 degrees). While oil is heating, cut beef and chicken, toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Combine pork with garlic, shallots, egg yolk and mustard and form into tiny meat balls. Decoratively arrange meats, meatballs and potatoes on a large platter, or on 4 individual plates. Arrange sauces in individual dipping bowls or plates. Place fondue pot of oil in center of table over a small candle or sterno, and adjust flame so that it bubbles but does not sputter when meat is added. Spear meat, meatball or potato on long forks, place in pot and cook 20 to 30 seconds until crispy. Remove meat from fork before eating — fork will be hot.

And that’s it. It’s the perfect appetizer for any party, and it guarantees to get the conversation rolling because everyone has to gather around the pots to dip their bread, fruit, or meat. Instant conversation guaranteed!

What are your favorite party conversation starters? Will fondue make it on your list? Do you think the Havarti brings the party or does the Point Reye’s Blue make you feel as blue as the name? Let us know in the comments below!

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