How To Throw The Ultimate '70s Fondue Party

How to Throw the Ultimate ‘70s Fondue Party

Fondue is a too often overlooked dinner party meal. It was such a popular hit in the '60s and '70s, but has all but disappeared from our entertaining repertoire since then. Our cheese-loving selves think this is a very sad story, and are thrilled that today is National Cheese Fondue Day, giving us the perfect excuse to dust off the fondue pot, and put it in the center of the table, filled with bubbling cheese, and surrounded by our closest friends. As fondue is today's national dish, there's no way anyone can judge you for your old-school tastes.

Check Your Fondue Equipment

If you do own a fondue set, it's likely you haven't used it for several years, so do make sure that it is still operational. If you don't have a fondue set, you need to go and buy one. For each fondue that you're serving you'll need a new pot, and an excess of fondue forks.

Count Your Guests

To host a successful fondue party, you really need to know exactly how many people will be attending in advance. Make sure you prepare for the maximum number of guests who could possibly show up. Everyone is going to need a fondue fork, a niche piece of equipment, which you are unlikely to have excess quantities of, so make sure in advance that you have enough to go around.

Begin With Bubbles and Cocktails

While normally we would recommend that you serve plenty of hors d'oeuvres with your pre-dinner drinks, this dinner party is going to be so rich that it's better your guests build up an appetite while they sip on their cocktails, rather than filling themselves up on '70s style cheese straws and deviled eggs. Plenty of Champagne and some classic cocktails, such as martinis and Manhattans, will be the perfect retro start to your party.

For the Ultimate Martini recipe, click here.

Create a Seating Plan

Fondue can be difficult, logistically, to set up in your dining room. You need to make sure everyone can reach the fondue pot, and that not everyone with a big appetite is sitting next to each other: Create a seating plan which balances out those who don't eat kilograms of cheese at a time with those who do, to avoid one end of the table gobbling down all the cheese in their pot in a matter of minutes, while the other end is left completely defeated after just a few bites.

Explain the Fondue Rules

There is a lot of etiquette that surrounds this seemingly simple, relaxed meal. Make sure your guests know the rules before they dive in. No double-dipping may be common sense, but you also need to explain the importance of stirring their forks clockwise in a figure-eight pattern to help stop the cheese or chocolate from getting lumpy.

Cheese Fondue

Cheese fondue is undoubtedly the ultimate Swiss comfort food. Traditionally, it's made of a combination of Gruyère and Emmenthal, with white wine and kirsch stirred in for good measure. Either stick to the classic recipe, or branch out and incorporate your favorite cheese for a more experimental fondue night.

For the Cheese Fondue recipe, click here.

Cheese Fondue Accompaniments

Crusty French bread, cut into small slices or cubes, is obviously the classic cheese fondue accompaniment. Increase the bread options by serving a sourdough or walnut bread, and add a touch of healthiness to the meal by serving plenty of fresh vegetables: lightly blanched cauliflower or broccoli florets, fresh endive, and vinegary cornichons are all delicious. Boiled and steamed potatoes are always popular, as are chunks of sturdy ham and salami.

Meat Fondue

For a meat fondue, a pot of searing hot oil is placed in the center of the table, and cubes of raw beef tenderloin or sirloin steak are dipped in and left to sizzle away until they're cooked to your liking. Serve with plenty of dips and sauces; this is a dish that begs for numerous condiments. Typically, beef fondue is served with French fries, but if you're serving cheese fondue too, then skip the fries: Inducing a heart attack is not the aim of your party.

Side Dishes

Alongside all that cheese, bread, and meat, you're going to want to serve some fresh vegetables to help your guests cope with all the rich food. Crisp green salads are a fondue's perfect counterpart, as are some simply prepared seasonal green vegetables, such as asparagus spears, lightly steamed spinach, or barely cooked kale.

For the Perfect Green Salad recipe, click here.

Wine Matching

It wouldn't be a '70s party without excessive amounts of alcohol. To accompany the hearty cheese fondue, and the fatty meat fondue, we recommend either a light red such as a Beaujolais or a young pinot noir, or a crisp white such as a dry German riesling or a smooth Swiss Fendant.

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate fondue has got to be one of the best-ever desserts. It's so simple to prepare, so much fun to share with friends, and it tastes magical. Use your favorite milk or dark chocolate, or, if you're feeling really fancy, try this exotic matcha white chocolate fondue.

For the Swiss Toblerone Chocolate Fondue recipe, click here.

Chocolate Fondue Dippers

After the rich cheese and meat fondues, you're definitely going to want plenty of fresh fruit to dip into the chocolate fondueStrawberries, satsuma segments, grapes, and slices of banana all work perfectly. For the sweet-toothed people who are craving something more than fruit, put out bowls of marshmallows, cubes of pound cake, and shortbread cookies.

Hot Drinks

Make sure you give everyone a hot drink at the end of the meal. Melted cheese and chocolate will sit in your stomach, making you feel bloated, heavy, and nauseous, unless you ease your digestion by sipping on a soothing cup of peppermint or fresh mint tea soon after you've stopped eating.

Cleaning Up

When your party's over, you're left with the onerous task of cleaning up. Fondue pots encrusted with, or filled with searing hot oil or with chocolate burnt on the base are rather challenging to clean. Leave the hot oil to cool before pouring it down the drain, and to get rid of any residue inside the pot, fill it with almost-boiling water and detergent, and leave it to sit for 15 minutes, before pouring the water out and scrubbing it clean.