With the arrival of winter and the end to holiday festivities, it's hard to fight the desire to hibernate. But gray skies and colder temperatures are the perfect inspiration for a small, warm social gathering. What better way to bring people together than with a fondue party?
The party food recipes that go along with fondue are simple, yet delicious. The whole affair is not just about filling your belly, but also about community and sharing. That something we need when the doldrums of January set in.
The birth of fondue
The true origins of fondue are unclear The cheese version is thought to have sprung from Switzerland, where hard breads and cheeses were a mainstay in the winter diet. It was found that melting the cheese with a dash of wine, then dunking in warm bread, made for a hearty, delicious meal. The name came later, from the French "fondre", which means "to melt".
The meat fondue is believed to have been born in medieval vineyards of France. Workers needed a quick meal, so they heated oil in a pot right in the fields and dunked pieces of meat for cooking. Little did they know, they would be creating one of the more popular party food recipes of all time!
Eventually fondue became a wildly popular party favorite in the 1950s and well into the 1970s. You can find fondue restaurants in most cities and towns, but the at-home version is now having a renaissance as well. The social, active nature of fondue makes it the perfect small gathering fare.
A simple recipe
The beauty of fondue is that the party host does very little meal preparation. The list of ingredients for a cheese fondue is small, making it one of the easiest party food recipes you can use. It typically includes just Gruyère cheese with wine melted in the pot with chunks of bread, or even raw vegetables for dipping.
When it comes to meat fondue, a pot of oil for heating, and some raw chunks of meat are the basics. The interesting party food recipes for meat fondue are the sauces. Typically it's best to have a few to choose from, including one that is best for beef, another for chicken, and another for shrimp.
There is a tidy list of sauce recipes from gourmetsleuth to check out, including Horseradish cream, Chipotle Tartar, and Asian Spicy dipping sauce, to name a few.
The most important tool for the event will also be the centerpiece of your table. A large fondue pot and long dipping forks are all you need to cook the meal. You can find any size or style of pot at fonduepots.com just keep in mind the size of gathering when it comes to making your selection.
If you think you are likely to have fondue, and to experiment with some fondue party food recipes on a somewhat regular basis, then a pot that has notches for each fork is a good idea. While they can be more pricey, they also prevent the slipping and tangling of people's forks.
Share the warmth
It may seem odd to ask your guests to cook their own food. The reality, though, is that most people enjoy the communal nature of fondue. It is a participatory dinner that creates warmth and good conversation. It doesn't need to feel heavy, or rushed. A fondue party food recipe is a recipe for good times, simple food, and some sharing that will warm your winter evening.