Recently, my public health classmates and I got together for a cheese fondue party. I was skeptical about the logistics at first, but was surprised at how easy it was to keep the cheese mixtures at the perfect temperature for dipping. The party was a huge success and I would highly recommend others try having one of their own.
If you don’t have a fondue set with an element built in, don’t fret; fondue can be kept warm either on the stove top over low heat in a saucepan, in a slow-cooker set to warm or a fondue pot can simply be placed over a candle. If hosting a fondue party as a potluck, it may be easier to ask guests to bring the foods that will be used for dipping, as fondue can sometimes be temperamental and cumbersome to transport and reheat. A variety of foods can be used for dipping. Vegetables, such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, are all tasty and healthy options. Cubed bread is another classic fondue dunker that comes in a variety of flavors and textures, such as sour dough, French, baguette, rye or wheat. A bread that has more body to it will be ideal, as you don’t want a lighter bread that will likely fall apart in the fondue. Surprisingly, some fruits, such as apples or grapes pair well with this cheesy dish. A fondue party is a great way to bring people together and experiment with novel foods to be dunked in this dairy delight, because in all honesty, cheese makes everything taste better.
Here are a few recipes from the party that I found to be truly tasty and perfect for any occasion. The first two were found and prepared by two of my amazing classmates and the third is from a German restaurant in Portland called The Rheinlander, where I worked one summer during college. Enjoy!
Tyler Florence’s Feta Cheese Fondue with Walnuts and Parsley
(Click here for a direct link to FoodNetwork.com)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- 2 scallions, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup walnuts toasted and finely chopped
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in the flour to make a paste-like roux. Whisk in the milk and decrease the temperature and simmer sauce for about 10 minutes, allowing it to thicken and cook through. Fold in the crumbled feta, scallions and parsley. Season with salt and a little cracked pepper. Heat through until the cheese melts. Finish it with the walnuts sprinkled on top. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.
Parmesan Cheese Fondue
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 cup white wine
Over low heat in a large saucepan, heat cream cheese and milk until the cheese is melted and mixture is combined thoroughly. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and add the garlic salt. Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Add the white wine. If fondue becomes too thin add more parmesan cheese. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.
The Rheinlander’s Swiss Cheese Fondue
- 1 1/2 pounds (2 packages) processed Swiss American cheese
- 2 cups Chardonnay or other dry white wine
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
Cheese will most likely be found in individual slices. Unwrap the slices, divide into 3-4 equal stacks and cube. If cheese can be found as a block, simply grate and set aside. In a stainless steel saucepan, simmer white wine, garlic, white pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg for about 10-15 minutes to reduce the wine. Place cheese into the wine mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until cheese melts completely. It is important to keep the heat low, so that the mixture does not begin to boil. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more wine; if it is too thin, add some more cheese. The consistency should not be watery and should coat the back of the spoon. More cayenne pepper can be added to taste, if desired. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.