Good Question: Tips for Fondue Party?

On Earth Day, I'm throwing a birthday party for me and my sister (we're twins). I plan to do a fondue party because it seems easy to have everything ready to go and we're volunteering in Golden Gate Park in the morning and might be tired.

I plan to have chocolate and caramel "fondue" for dessert but I'm at a loss of what kind of cheeses to do. I plan to use steel bowls over pans of hot water for the desserts but I'm not sure this will work for cheese. Any recipes and suggestions? Dos and don'ts?

Also, any tips on how to handle the forks? Do we each get one or should I have clean forks around so people don't have to reuse? (I'll be hitting up a thrift store or restaurant supply if that's the case. No plastic here!)

Thanks for any help!

- Tia

Tia, happy birthday to you and your sister! We are also fondue novices, so we'll just give you a few general tips and let the more experienced readers fill in the rest.

Cheese fondue is actually a very appropriate recipe for early spring and the Kitchen Cure, since it was originally a way to use up hard cheese, wine, and stale bread - often the only pantry items left at the end of a long winter in the mountains of Switzerland and France.

The traditional cheeses for fondue are Swiss: Emmenthal, Gruyère and Appenzeller. They are melted with white wine or good Kirsch and often some garlic. You'll need a candle or Sterno underneath chafing dishes or a pot to keep the cheese evenly warmed and runny.

Here are some recipes:
Cheese Fondue at Island Tastes
Sharp Cheddar Fondue
Fondue party tips at Domino

As far as forks go, we would indeed stay away from plastic, and use different forks for each person and each pot of cheese or chocolate. But as long as people don't eat directly off the forks it seems fine to reuse. Depending on your dipping ingredients, you can also use those long sharp wood or bamboo skewers sold in packs at the grocery store. You can easily spear bread and marshmallows with these.

And if your guests are good with chopsticks you could offer those, a la steamboat parties, instead of traditional fondue forks.

Any more fondue tips for Tia?

(Image: Island Tastes)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.