Our family has longtime been a fan of the fondue night.
It’s a tradition for us to make this dinner on New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and often the kids will choose to have fondue for their birthday dinner as well.
Fondue is a lot of fun, but I must be clear: it’s not just a dinner–it’s an event.
It takes time to shop for fondue, prep fondue, and slowly enjoy fondue. And one huge plus is that although it sounds fancy, it’s really pretty simple.
We often rock it out with a 3-course dinner: cheese fondue, broth fondue, and chocolate fondue.
Yum, yum, and yum.
Here’s the skinny. . .
How to Do a Family Fondue Night–Special Occasion Dinner:
First things first.
You need a fondue set to make this happen.
And you could go super simple and electric where the heating element is plugged in:
(Below is the Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker.)
Or you could go super simple and stay traditional, where the heating source is a fire gel or something similar:
(Like the ExcelSteel Fondue Set below.)
And depending on the size of your family, you may want to get two sets so that you all can cook simultaneously.
Because think about it: two fondue forks each, times a family of five, equals ten fondue forks. All in one pot. That’s a lot of forks.
Anything you choose, you want to make sure that you have a decent fondue pot and fondue forks. I got lucky one year and found a pot at our local thrift shop, so it’s worth checking out.
Once you have the proper equipment, then you can decide on the menu.
One thing I love about fondue is that everyone can help with just about every step in some way, shape or form.
Get the kids involved!
Have them get involved in making fondue:
- help you plan the menu;
- help create the shopping list;
- set the table;
- design table cards;
- break the bread (can be hand torn if kids are too small to cut);
- cut the vegetables, fruit, or bread;
- decide on a fun sparkly drink (we like Shirley Temples in fancy glasses for the kids!);
- organize the forks (everyone must be assigned a color!); or
- design the layout of dipping sauces.
The possibilities are endless.
Then start cooking!
We usually go with a 3-course fondue event: cheese, broth, and chocolate.
There are a million ways to make fondue, but we’ve created super-super simple recipes with mild flavors that really suit our children’s increasingly adventurous palates.
The cool thing about fondue is that you can really kick up the flavors in simple ways.
Want a little more edgy cheese fondue? Choose sharper cheeses, add some cooking wine or hot sauce.
Want your meets to have more of a kick? Consider dipping the cooked pieces in fun and crazy sauces. Our standbys are barbecue, teriyaki, steak, and cocktail sauce.
Course 1: cheese fondue
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
½ cup beer (really–the alcohol will cook off!) or white cooking wine
salt & pepper to taste
For dipping: French bread, apple slices, pre-cooked carrots or broccoli
1. Start pot on stovetop. Mix ingredients over med-low heat until melted. Move to fondue stand.
2. Dip the chosen dippers into the melted cheese.
Course 2: broth fondue
4-8 cups of chicken broth (usually buy two 32oz packages)
1 T Tastefully Simple Spinach and Herb Mix or other seasoned mix
salt and pepper to taste
For dipping: raw shrimp (peeled, de-veined), chicken, beef, salmon, potatoes, veggies cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
Sauces for dipping: barbecue, teriyaki, steak, cocktail sauce, Ranch, etc.
1. Start pot on stovetop. Mix broth and seasoning over medium heat until 375 degrees (just below boiling). Move to fondue stand.
2. Put meat or veggie on skewer and dip into broth. Meat and veggies will cook in this broth, so it’s imperative that you pay attention to cooking times.
Some helpful fondue-making hints:
- Keep all raw foods on the same plate;
- Color coordinate fondue forks so that no one gets mixed up;
- Move cooked food directly to your own plate, take it off of the fondue fork, and eat with your own regular fork;
- If you have super-hungry kids, make a quick side dish for them to munch on while foods cook;
- Be over cautious–over-cook vs under cook foods;
- Pre-cook veggies to speed up cooking time.
Want to check out the coolest fondue cooking timer ever? This is a riot: The Melting Pot Fondue Timer.
We’ll totally pull it out on our iPad next time we’re making fondue!
Course 3: chocolate fondue
1 bag semi-sweet milk chocolate chips
1 bag milk chocolate chips
½ cup warm heavy cream
½ cup peanut butter
For dipping: strawberries, banana, marshmallows, pound cake, cheesecake cut into bite-sized pieces
1. Start pot on stovetop. Mix ingredients over medium heat until melted. Move to fondue stand.
2. Dip strawberries, banana, marshmallows, pound cake, cheesecake, cookies cut into bite-sized pieces into chocolate and enjoy!
Fondue is a super-fun, memory building event for families.
It’s one of our family traditions. It’s special.
There’s no reason to be fearful of fondue because you can really take it as small–or as large–as you’d like. If you don’t want to go nuts with three courses, cleaning up and washing the pots in between, then just do the cheese fondue as a side for a regular dinner.
Or do the broth fondue as your main course and rice or noodles as a side.
The chocolate fondue is always a super idea for a special dessert, for any occasion.
And if the adults in the family are up for something special to drink, then I highly recommend something special like these easy holiday mules, festive apple cider mimosas, or a copycat Carnival Miami Vice cocktail! YUM!
Do you want our recipes?
Know that they are not perfect, but they work for us. Season and adjust to your liking.
You can download our Family Fondue Night Recipes here as a pdf: fondue dinner recipe _ teachmama.com
(If you choose to share this post–and we hope you do!– please link to this post and not the attachment page! Thank you!)
If you are up for learning more about cooking as a family, then consider taking a cooking technique Masterclass by Chef Thomas Keller. Or, consider these:
- Alice Walters’ Masterclass on Home Cooking
- Wolfgang Puck’s Masterclass on Cooking
- Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass on Cooking
It’s better than candy in our family!
And that’s it–a family favorite, for sure!
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