It’s the Perfect Season for a Fondue Party—Here’s How Plan the Perfect One

Cold weather and fondue go together like cheese and bread. Get your comfort food fix and spend time with friends and family by hosting your own fondue party.

Whether you’re a chocolate lover or a cheese lover, is there a better excuse to enjoy both than a fondue party this winter?

“Fondue is the quintessential cozy meal,” says celebrity event stylist Amanda Orso. “Melted cheese, warm crusty bread, and a communal supper is the perfect recipe for a homey and hearty winter night with a group of friends or even a romantic dinner for two. Rich and decadent and yet easy and unpretentious, fondue is the perfect meal to warm tummies and spirits.” 

While fondue parties first became popular in the 1960s, we’re officially declaring their comeback. Thinking of throwing one? Here’s everything you need to know. 

Left: cheese fondue spread; right: cubed cornbread dipped in fondue

Left: Jacob Fox; Right: Jason Donnelly | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

How to Host a Fondue Party

The Essentials

While having a fondue pot is the first thing you need, Orso also recommends purchasing compartmentalized plates that keep foods and dips divided. Having enough dipping forks is also a must.

“For forks, you’ll want at least one fondue fork per person, per course, and at least one dinner fork per person, as well,” she says. “Note that fondue etiquette calls for the fondue fork to be used to dip the food, which should then be slid onto one’s plate and eaten with a dinner fork to avoid double-dipping.” 

Pick a Theme

Having a fun theme instantly elevates a fondue party.

“Fondue parties conjure two distinct and classic vibes: après ski in the Swiss Alps or nostalgic dinner parties in 1960s America,” Orso says. “Planning decor and other food and drink with one of these aesthetics in mind will keep a party fun and cohesive.”

For Après Ski, consider using red and white plaid tablecloths, sheepskin accents, and a roaring fireplace. (“If you don’t have a fireplace, use the Netflix option instead,” Orso suggests.) Not a subscriber? YouTube also has lots of free options.

Fondue Etiquette

The first rule of a fondue party is no double-dipping. The second one, according to Orso, is no crowding the pot.

“Also, be sure everyone understands the process of dipping with the fondue fork but eating with the dinner fork,” Orso says.

Consider color-coded forks or even personalized forks to avoid any mix-ups.

“Personalized forks can be created on Etsy—if not with names, consider fun sayings that can be assigned to each guest,” Orso says.

When it comes to the logistics of serving fondue, there needs to be a balance of aesthetics and practicality.

“Be mindful of a pretty and practical presentation as well: Dipping foods should be neatly displayed on platters between guests to make them easy to reach,” Orso says.  

Get Cooking

There are a variety of ways to make fondue. Choosing a cheese is easy—as long as it melts, it will work, but the classic fondue combo is gruyere mixed with Emmentaler cheese.

Orso likes to put an internationally inspired spin on cheese fondue. “A more French version uses Gruyere, Comte, and Beaufort cheese, along with the additional above ingredients. A slightly more Italian version works with Fontina cheese and milk, butter, and egg yolk,” she says.

Want to upgrade chocolate fondue? Add just enough cherry brandy or bourbon for flavor. 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fondue
Scott Little

Dipping Foods

As for choosing the right foods to dip for chocolate fondue, you can use almost anything, from fruit to small pieces of cake or even candied orange peel. 

There’s also a variety of options for dipping in cheese, Orso says.

“Serve cozy comfort food for dipping, such as Bavarian pretzel bites,” she suggests. “For heartier fare, serve meatballs and chunks of cooked ham. To evoke a 1960s party, consider pigs in a blanket and cubes of summer sausage.”

Pick a variety of options for each type of fondue you’re serving, and remember: When it comes to fondue parties, there are very few fon-don’ts.

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