Some food traditions are best left to the distant past, but a good fondue is not one of them. Fondue is not only downright delectable, it is convivial and interesting, a marvelous way to catch up with old friends while dipping all sorts of scrumptious things in smooth as silk chocolate.
Throwing a fondue party is one of the easiest events to plan, especially because everyone can get involved. It all starts with a quality fondue pot.
Pick Your Pot
Brightly colored ceramic fondue pots may look pretty, but they are often difficult to heat through and keep hot. Stick with a stainless steel pot that can be heated over the stove then transferred to a holder where a candle or burner underneath will keep the contents toasty warm and perfectly dippable. If you don't have a fondue pot, use a small stainless steel or cast iron pot instead, and set it on a sturdy metal stand that will not tip easily. For an extra precaution, set the whole contraption on a wooden cutting board to protect your table top.
Your fondue pot should come with fondue forks -- essential tools for your fondue party since they have long handles that allow for ease of dipping while keeping your guests' hands away from the hot pot. If you don't have any, try long-handled barbecue forks or bamboo skewers instead.
If possible, set up on a round table so it's easy for everyone to reach the fondue pot without stretching and knocking things over.
Once all your equipment is in order, it's time to plan the edible portion of your party.
Choose the Chocolate
For a dessert fondue, melted chocolate is the star ingredient. I prefer dark chocolate, so one pot is all I need, but if you and your guests fancy a different type, set up several fondue pots so you can offer a variety of chocolate dipping options such as bittersweet, milk, or even creamy white.
Jazz up your chocolate fondue a bit by stirring in spices. Ground cinnamon and hot chili powder make a delicious Mexican spiced chocolate when added to dark or milk chocolate. Scrape in vanilla bean seeds to your white chocolate fondue, or a drizzle of cherry brandy to the milk chocolate fondue. Irish whiskey is a decadent addition, and a rich coffee liqueur or Amaretto will make any chocolate fondue especially lavish.
Decide on Dippables
After the chocolate fondue is chosen, start filling bowls with all sorts of scrumptious things that go well with chocolate and can be speared on a fondue fork. Enlist your friends to cut fresh fruit and squares of pound cake, pour out bags of pretzels, and more unusual options like dried apricots and candied ginger. Set the bowls on a Lazy Susan for ease of access.
Just before the party, melt the chopped chocolate over a pot of of simmering water. When melted, stir in any additions you like, then transfer to the table and keep warm with a candle or burner. Gather your good friends around and start dipping!