Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fun Fondue!

New Year's Eve presents its own set of problems for a smallish gathering since the main event takes place at midnight. Serving a late dinner helps, of course. Serving several courses would be fun for the guests but a lot of work for the hostess. I've solved that dilemma by serving fondue. There's something about fondue that livens up a gathering. Maybe it's because everyone is involved in cooking their own dinners -- I'm not really sure, but there always seems to be a lot of laughter when fondue is served. Which means, of course, that fondue is a great choice anytime.

Fondue made a comeback in popularity when I was a child and I still remember the fun family nights we had when my mom made fondue. There are all sorts of rules about what happens if your food falls off the fork in the fondue pot -- for instance kissing the person to your left. But you can make up your own rules to suit your family.

I make cheese fondue and beef fondue, and serve them with a simple salad. Beef fondue is easiest by far, because all you really have to do is heat canola oil and pour it into a fondue pot. Any cook can cut a steak into cubes! And people love to cook their own meat. I like to add some mushrooms and sliced red or orange peppers, which are also great cooked in the fondue oil. If you have guest who like broccoli or cauliflower, those are good choices as well.

Cheese fondue is a little more work but it's really easy, too. There are loads of recipes, but it's quite forgiving, so don't worry about it too much.

Simple Cheese Fondue

16 ounces Gruyere cut into tiny (easy to melt) cubes
8 ounces Emmental cheese (cut into small cubes)
1/3 to 1/2 bottle of white wine (I use Our Dog Blue, a mild white table wine)
a couple of pinches of nutmeg
2 teaspoons corn starch

1. Place the cheese and wine in a saucepan and let cheese melt. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
2. Steal a little bit of the warm wine from the pot, add to the cornstarch and stir until blended.
3. Add the cornstarch the the melted cheese and stir another minute or so.
4. Pour into fondue or chafing dish and serve with bread.

Eggnog with a swirl of Khalua

Here's to a Happy 2010 to all!


  1. I *loved* fondue nights when I was a kid. Don't remember kissing anyone when the meat fell off the fork, though! I think our rule involved "grown-ups only can fish for lost meat" because the pot was so hot. :)

    This is a great idea for fun, easy entertaining. Thanks for putting fondue back on my radar, Krista!

  2. I remember fondue nights fondly, too. So much fun. We introduced fondue to the kids a few years back and they love it just as much as we do. I think we need to bring this into rotation more often, though. The last time we fondued at home was about a year and a half ago. I miss it! Thanks for the reminder, Krista!

  3. We had fondue on New Year's Eve. It was lovely. For me, I scooped out the cheese and put it over my gluten-free breads while everyone else dipped their bread in the fondue pot. Worked out lovely! Mine didn't stay as hot, of course, but warm cheese with wine tastes great on just about anything! Happy new year.

  4. My aunt gave me a fondue pot a few years ago,
    and I've been waiting for the dudes to be old enough to use it. I think they are ready.
    Thanks for reminding me -- this will be such fun!

  5. Krista, you are indeed the Domestic Diva! This is a fantastic solution for New Year's Eve(or, come to think of it, a suprise b'day where everyone's waiting around for the guest of honor to show). I love fondue. We didn't have it growing up, but an "all-fondue" restaurant opened in the nearby city, and it was all the rage. I love you cheese recipe and that Eggnog with Kahlua - yum - the perfect sweet ending to a holiday party!

    ~ Cleo
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Cheese is the one thing everybody in my family likes! Your post has reminded me that I have a fondue pot sitting in my pantry, just gathering dust. I think it's time to put it to good use!

  7. I'm glad I brought back good memories of fun fondue dinners! Cleo, eggnog with Kahlua is just a little bit decadent. Yum!

    Janel and Jenn, I think a lot of people have a long forgotten fondue pot taking up space somewhere. They're far too much fun to forget about.

    ~ Krista

  8. I am seeing so many posts about fondue for New year's eve. i have never heard of that as a tradition, but it must be somewhere...

    I love the recipe, and am planning a fondue session soon