My mom used to throw the best fondue parties. She would orchestrate an entire meal for a small group of friends with varieties of fondue, starting with cheese fondue as "appetizer", then 2 kinds of "main dish" fondue, and for dessert, the best of all, chocolate fondue. This feat of entertaining required multiple fondue pots and lots of preparation. Forks had to be labeled (or color coded), ingredients had to be diced and sliced, and most of all, the recipes had to be tested. I was always reluctantly recruited for the slicing and dicing, but I was a ready volunteer for the taste-testing.
In case you're not familiar with the whole fondue thing, the concept involves dipping a small portion of food (usually speared on the end of a stick or fork) into a heated sauce of some kind. The word fondue comes from the French feminine past participle of fondre, meaning to melt.
Special fondue pots can be bought at specialty kitchen stores or through mail order catalogs. The one shown here is a Swissmar Amore Heart-Shaped Chocolate Fondue Set I ordered from Amazon for a Valentine's Day tea party I'm planning.
If you don't have a fondue pot or a budget for a fountain, you can serve simple-style. Just transfer the saucepan from the stove to a stand on the table with some kind of heating unit (a tea light in a holder works) underneath it. Unless you want them gathering around your stove.
I'll share mom's other fondue recipes at a later date. Today, being Chocolate Friday, you get ...
Mom's Chocolate Fondue
- 1 16 oz. pkg Nestle's Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 large Hershey's chocolate bar
- 1/4 cup milk, heavy cream, OR flavored creamer
Options for flavoring: 1-2 tsp liqueur such as Amaretto or a coffee liqueur, 1 tsp mint flavoring, or add a tbsp very finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
In a sauce pan, melt the chocolate chips over a low heat on the stove. Add small squares of Hershey bar to to sweeten (to taste) and milk (or cream) in small amounts to keep consistency moist. It should be like a thick soup, not too watery. Stir constantly to prevent chocolate sticking to bottom of pan.
Goodies for dipping:
- 1 dozen plain cake donuts or pound cake, cubed
- Fruits, such as marascino cherries, strawberries, bananas, or apples
- Marshmallows - we tried the mini-size, but I recommend using the large ones
- Anything else you like with chocolate that can be speared on a fork
Serving it Up
Transfer melted chocolate to fondue pot over a low heat so that chocolate stays liquid, but not bubbling. Arrange the dipping foods on trays around the fondue pot. Most fondue pots come with a set of "forks", but you can supplement these with long toothpick-like sticks from your local grocery store. You'll need a good supply of small napkins for your guests, as well as small plates - this meal can get messy, but it's a lot of fun!
Serve with pot in the center of a sturdy table where it is unlikely to be jarred, but easily reached. A small round table is best, so that guests can carry their plates and "spears" around the table, sampling a little of everything. For large groups, use several small tables, with a fondue pot on each.
The Art of "Spearing"
If your guests are unfamiliar with fondue, you might want to demonstrate this technique:
- Spear food with fork
- Dip into the pot and give it a good stir
- Lift and twirl slowly
- Move plate beneath fork and continue twirling until dripping stops and food has cooled.