Fondue Functions and You

Say you’re hosting a dinner party and you have your friends and/or family coming over, the biggest and most important question people will ask is “what are you going to serve for dinner?” so what will you serve? Will it be steaks, salmon, shrimp cocktails, or will you go and make sometime out of the ordinary, something that makes your guests go “Wow this is fancy” but actually comes from peasant roots, well then why not have a fondue party, or as it should be known, a Fondue Function. Fondue will not only impress the guests you bring over but will also be a fun an interactive way for everyone to hangout versus the traditional dinner party. Fondue Functions make great dinner parties for friends and family, but they also give your guests a unique dining experience that could only be copied by going to a fondue restaurant, and those aren’t cheap, so having this dining experience in the comfort of your own house is a truly special event.

 

Origin:

Fondue came out of Switzerland in the 18th century, when many Swiss families didn’t have access to many fresh foods and had to stretch out their food supplies during the cold winter months. Many people in Switzerland at the time combined their cheeses with wine and garlic to create what we know now-a-days to be fondue. The word fondue comes from a French word “fondre” which means “to melt”. Fondue is traditionally served with various breads such as a baguette or any old bread with Glugg to drink. Glugg, also known as mulled wine which is made with wine, raisins, alcohol (gin, vodka or, aquavit), sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and almonds. These two combine into making one of the most iconic Swiss dishes, however it wouldn’t be until 1964 at the New York World Fair by the Swiss Pavilion Alpine restaurant. This is often regarded as America’s introduction to fondue as it is one of the first times many people were able to try fondue without having to travel to Switzerland to try it. Ever since the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the United States and its people have fallen in love with fondue, the classic chocolate dessert although of American origin actually comes from Konrad Egli, a Swiss. By combining chocolate, heavy cream, and cherry brandy he was able to make the original chocolate fondue that people all over the world today. (https://www.alpenwild.com/staticpage/fondue-history-and-tradition/) (https://everythingfondue.wordpress.com/history/)

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Fondue comes in endless varieties but for this fondue function we are going to look at five different ways to create fondue, one traditional, one that is American based, one that is German based, and two dessert fondue’s one that’s a mix between milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate with the final fondue pot being white chocolate.

For our first fondue pot, the traditional fondue you will need a cup and a half of gruyere, a cup and a half of emmental cheese, half a cup of appenzeller cheese, 2-3 table spoons of flour, 1 halved garlic clove, one cup of dry white wine, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a dash of liquor either gin or vodka, a pinch of pepper and nutmeg. (https://www.food.com/recipe/authentic-original-traditional-swiss-fondue-old-world-recipe-53057)

The next fondue pot will hold the American based fondue that will consist of, a cup and a half of American cheese, a cup and a fourth of milk, two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a table spoon of flour, one half table spoon of ground mustard, a cup and a half of Colby cheese, and a cup of either and amber/brown ale or a pilsner lager. (https://www.thespruceeats.com/american-cheese-fondue-recipe-481632)

To round out the final savory fondue pot we will be the German based one, and the ingredients for this one will be: Two-and one-half cups of shredded sharp cheddar, four to six ounces of gruyere, one tablespoon of flour, one cup of a German lager, two table spoons of spicy brown mustard, a dash of hot sauce, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/german-cheddar-and-beer-fondue-recipe-1952095)

Now for the dessert-based fondue’s the one we will start with is the chocolate blend and the ingredients are pretty simple: six ounces of semisweet chocolate, 4 ounces of milk chocolate, one half cup of whole milk, one and a half of unsalted butter, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt and a cup of alcohol (brandy usually flavored, a nice dessert wine, or a chocolate liquor). (https://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/chocolate-fondue/)

For our final fondue it is going to be a little unorthodox but will make your guests have no doubts in your cooking skills even for a simple dish like white chocolate fondue, the ingredients you will need are: one cup of heavy cream, one half stick of unsalted butter and, two twelve-ounce packages of white chocolate morsels. (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/white-chocolate-fondue-recipe-1942164)

Cooking instructions:

The cooking instructions are very similar between all of the savory fondue’s, but they have enough differences to need separate the cooking instructions for the three.

For the traditional fondue you want to take all of your cheeses and mix them in a bowl with flour to ensure it will be coated and melt properly, then you want to rub the interior of the pot with garlic for flavor, next you add the wine to the fondue pot, heating it up but make sure to not bring it to a boil, next you add the lemon juice and the hard alcohol to the pot, then once that gets all warm then you slowly start adding the cheese and flour blend a handful at a time and once all of the cheese has been added you’re looking for a light creamy cheese sauce and once it’s there you want to add the pepper and nutmeg to the mixture, finally move the fondue from the stove top and into a fondue pot with a constant flame underneath that keeps the fondue slightly boiling, and that is how to make our traditional fondue. For traditional fondue you can really dip just about anything to it and it will be tasty, but some classical options are: cubed bread, leeks, turnips, bacon, broccoli, and baby potatoes to name a few items that are more original.

The American-based fondue’s cooking instructions are as follows; You want to mix American cheese and flour together in a bowl, add a cup of amber/brown ale or the pilsner lager into the pot bringing it to just under a boil, once it is warm add the cheese/flour mix, milk, Worcestershire sauce and ground mustard to the mix, once it starts getting a smooth consistency slowly add the Colby cheese only a handful of a time, and that’s how you make the American-based fondue. American-based fondue has a lot of different foods you can dip into it such as: apples, cubed bread, meatballs, tortilla chips, chicken, steak, and pretzel bites just to name a few options for dipping.

The final savory fondue pot is the German-based fondue (which is my personal favorite) the cooking instructions are as follows; Combine the cheeses (sharp cheddar and gruyere) in a bowl with flour, add the German lager to a pot and bring it to a light bubble, then reduce the heat and slowly add handfuls of cheese to the pot, and once the cheese has been melted then you can incorporate the spicy brown mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, once it gets to a nice smooth consistency transfer it to a fondue pot. With this fondue you can dip many things inside of it such as but not limited to: pickles, cubed bread, salami, German sausage, and cauliflower just to name a few dipping options.

Moving onto the dessert fondue’s we will start with the mixed chocolate fondue and the instructions are pretty simple: you want to take all of the chocolate (semisweet and milk) and chop it into small pieces, then take the chocolate put it in a small bowl with a half cup of milk and the butter and you can either put it in the microwave until its melted or (the preferred way) put the bowl over a boiling pot of water and let the steam from the water melt all of it together, once it’s all melted you then want to add the vanilla and salt, then put it into a fondue pot for serving. The dipping options for this fondue is only limited by what you to dip in it such as: bananas, strawberries, cookies, Oreo’s, raspberries, potato chips, apples, pretzels, cake, popcorn, cherries, and tangerines. These are just a few suggestions but again do not limit yourself to the list I compiled, its chocolate so if you think it will taste good, then go for it.

Finally, we round out our fondues with one that will surely surprise your guests with and that is the white chocolate fondue, which is a lot easier than you may think: First you want to combine the heavy cream and butter in a medium pan bringing the combination to a simmer, then you want to remove the pan and add the white chocolate chips, and stir until it is all melted together, and once it is let it cool slightly and move it to a fondue pot. Similarly, to the mixed chocolate fondue you can dip a lot of the same ingredients as: strawberries, cherries, Oreo’s cake, etc. but again, if you think it will be good to dip in then dip it in.

These are the basic yet essential steps to take when making fondue, most of the dipping options can be used between the three savory fondue’s and for the two savory ones a lot of the dipping options can be interchanged between the two, so do not be afraid to mix and match different flavor combinations together.

 

Fondue Function:

So now that you know what ingredients you’ll need and how to make all five different fondue’s now you can get to my favorite party of any fondue function and that is the hosting, specifically the prep that comes before anyone arrives. First step is to make sure that before anyone shows up to your house or apartment for eating that it is clean and tidy. Next all of the savory fondues will take about 25-30 minutes in total for the prep and cook time, so make sure to plan accordingly when cooking and cut up all of the dipping ingredients so you do not have to do it while cooking the fondue as there will not be enough time. Lastly, on the prep you should have all of your beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) available before dinner is served, which includes our Glugg or mulled wine. This drink is a bit more complex than it seems but makes the experience of a fondue function feel that much more authentic. First you want to warm the wine, raisins, alcohol, and sugar in a pan on low heat. Next you want to mix the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in a cheesecloth and put it in the sauce pan with the wine, raisins, alcohol, and sugar. You then want to let it simmer but not boil for at least 3 minutes (enough to get warm and stay warm in its cup) then serve it in a mug where the heat will not penetrate the outside. Lastly you want to add a few almonds and raisins to the drink and make sure to serve with a spoon so those drinking it can get the soaked almonds and raisins. (https://www.frontiercoop.com/community/recipe/glugg)

Once the drinks are made and the setting it clean you are now ready for people to show up. Here is where you have some creative freedom for your party as in do you start cooking when everyone shows up, prior to everyone shows up or do you have your guests coming over help you cook the fondue? For me personally I enjoy cooking a little bit before everyone gets there so I can be finishing up the dish while people are showing up however, for this fondue function, I think the best way to get your guests involved with the process is to not cook until everyone shows up and make the dinner with everyone involved. Not only will it give your guests a unique dining experience that will hopefully last with them for a long time. Once you get your fondues going on cooking, I recommend making them in this order: Traditional, American, German, and make both dessert chocolate fondues at the same time if possible. When making the savory fondues this is your time to show off all of your knowledge and expertise of the Swiss food. After you cook the savory fondue’s but before moving on to make the dessert ones, make sure to cook the cheese that gets stuck on the bottom till it creates a dark crust. This is called ‘religieuse’, which is considered a delicacy for fondue as it is the last best bit and there are a few ways you go about consuming this last tasty bite. As assumed you could eat it straight up off the pan, you can crack an egg on it and consume it with the egg raw or let it cook in the pan before eating it, or as I like to do, save it for the following day and use it for breakfast in the morning with bacon and eggs or in a sausage and egg sandwich. There are some customs that come with having a fondue function such as if you drop whatever you are dipping in the fondue you have to do some sort of light-hearted punishment such as drinking or cleaning the dishes or having to speak in the third person until it happens to the next person and so on and so forth. Hosting your own fondue function has the ability to bring friends and family together in ways that having a dinner party of steak or chicken simply cannot do, since those dinner options offer a lack of interactivity comparatively.

 

In Conclusion:

Fondue has its humble beginnings from the 18th century as a dish families would make during the winter months to draw out the shelf life of the foods that they had. From that moment moving forward the culinary world would change forever, there would be fondue specific restaurants, people would have chocolate fondue fountain at weddings and even one of America’s largest buffet chains, Golden Corral, advertised the fact that they had a chocolate fountain for at-least a six months, America itself is often referred to as “Melting pot” which is another term for fondue. So, the next time someone offers to have a get-together you could offer to host a fondue function and blow everyone away with a simple yet uncommon dinner party. And remember if you think something would go well to dip into a fondue pot, then try it out who knows, maybe that is the next big food combination discovery simply because you held a fondue function with some friends and/or family just when you do remember to have a good time and everything else will fall into place.

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