The Big Dipper

Often mistaken for Jay Gatsby’s party consultants, we at Ocala Style know how to throw an epic party. This winter season, fondue parties are all the rage, and we are here to guide the way.

Hosting a fondue party is simple. Just follow our lead, and let the melted Gruyère or Asiago do the talking.

Typically, there are three main types of fondue: melted cheese for starters, an Asian hot-pot where meat is cooked in either oil or broth for the main course and melted chocolate for dessert. From our party to yours, here are a few of our favorite fondue recipes.

Cheddar n’ Beer Fondue

  • 1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup lager beer
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder

Mix cheddar cheese and flour together in a bowl. › Bring beer to a light boil in a fondue pot; add garlic, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder, and stir. ›  Gradually stir cheese mixture into beer mixture. › Reduce heat to low; cook and stir mixture until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Meat n’ Chili Vinegar Fondue

Chili Vinegar Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 medium red chili, finely chopped

Mix white wine vinegar, sugar, garlic and red chili together in a small bowl. › Set aside until desired. › The vegetable oil for meat fondue should reach 375°F. › For beef cut into 1-inch cubes, it should take 25-30 seconds for rare, 30-35 seconds for medium and 45-60 seconds for well-done meat. › When meat is fully cooked, dip into the chili vinegar sauce and enjoy.

Chocolate n’ Almonds Fondue

  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup amaretto

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine half-and-half and almond extract. › Heat until bubbles begin to form at edge of cream. Do not boil. › Reduce heat to low, and stir in chocolate chips, stirring constantly. › Once all the chocolate is melted and incorporated, slowly stir in amaretto until combined. › Pour chocolate mixture into fondue pot, and serve with goodies for dipping.

Fondue Fun

Most of this party can be prepped before your guests even arrive. Cube the cheese and chocolate for your sauces ahead of time, and slice the meat, bread, fruit and other dipping foods to save time.

Cheeeeese. Who doesn’t love cheese, right? For your cheesy fondues, try cubed bread or raw veggies like carrots and broccoli. By the way, stale or harder bread is traditionally easier, but soft bread is tasty, too. Cubed steaks and other meat are also yummy smothered in cheese.

Where’s the meat? If you’re cooking meat at your party, thin strips or small cubes of beef, chicken, pork or shrimp are best for dipping. Once cooked, serve with dipping sauces. Horseradish cream, béarnaise and aioli are traditional sauces.

The grand finale. For chocolate fondue, try dipping cubes of cake and marshmallows in the fondue to cure your sweet tooth. Strawberries, bananas and apples are other yummy alternatives.

Shindig Set Up

Most fondue pots accommodate six skewers. Depending on how many guests you have, you may need a few pots. Use a different pot for each type of fondue you are cooking.

Chocolate drizzle and melted cheese is bound to drip en route from pot to plate. Be prepared and cover your table with a cloth and provide plenty of napkins.

Set the ambiance with a lit fireplace or candles. If you’re feeling especially festive, you can play Swiss music in honor of the birthplace for this dish.

Where there is food, there should be drinks. Fondue is often paired with wine or beer. For little dippers under 21 (or party guests who are non-drinkers), apple cider is the drink of choice, especially with many of the cheese varieties.

Here’s a couple of refreshing wine suggestions to put out for guests to sample with their plates.

With cheese: A Riesling or Chenin Blanc perfectly pairs with cheese rich in flavor.

With oil: Sip on a Spanish Cava or an Italian Prosecco.

With chocolate: Brachetto d’Acqui, a sweet sparkling red wine from Piedmont, Italy, is our favorite dessert wine.

Fondue Fiascos

Try out this “fondue punishment” as a game during the night. Every time the food someone is dipping drops into the pot, they must do something. Decide what you want this “something” to be ahead of time. For example, if your strawberry gets lost in the chocolate fondue, you must sing a song, answer any question or do a dare—just have fun with it.

Sources: thespruce.com, sheknows.com, allrecipes.com, winemag.com

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