Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Fondue ‘Do

Written by Patti on July 14th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Thanks for letting me play hooky yesterday. Today I am rewarding you with party pics, tips and recipes!

Tuesday night 10 of us met at our house for a fondue and wine party. My buddy, Chef Jeffrey Gardner of South City Kitchen helped me design the menu and execute it, while my friend, Chip Ivey of Wine Shop at Home, brought 6 great wines for us to pair with the three (yes, three!) types of fondue.

Table being set up for wine tasting.

Beka Cookware sent me a gorgeous fondue pot for this party. I loved that the six skewers spelled out “F O N D U E” – so cute! The sleek chrome design made for a very chic dinner party.

I must say though, that fondue is normally a six person affair and we had 10. So, go ahead and get two fondue pots if you plan to make it a big party. Chef Jeffrey tells me that a great substitute for a fondue pot is a crock pot. It may be, but it isn’t nearly as cute! So we made do with the one. But I was able to grab six more skewers from the Goodwill for next to nothing.

The three fondues we settled on were:

1. Classic Cheese – paired with assorted veggies and cuban bread cubes
2. Tomato and Onion – paired with the same assorted veggies and shrimp
3. Chocolate, Nutella and Kahlua – paired with strawberries, raspberries, marshmallows, graham crackers, potato chips and Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Ok, so maybe we went a little overboard with dessert. Not a bad thing, right?

The classic cheeses we used were fontina and petit swiss. We ran into a bit of trouble with this one. I should have gone with all fontina and no swiss. The swiss had some melting issues. But Chef strained a bit of it and miraculously, it all turned out well.

Lets get this show on the road!

I loved the cheese fondue. So scrumptious. Chip paired a great wine with this, a fab white. The cuban bread was soft, so I seemed to lose a lot of pieces in the fondue pot. It is customary that if a man drops his bread in the pot, he buys the next bottle of wine. If a woman drops her bread in the pot, she must give a little kiss to the man seated next to her. That will make fast friends of everyone.

The tomato fondue was a brand new twist on fondue. Light, especially when paired with veggies and shrimp, it was perfect for this summer day (the a/c was set to 68F!)

Clint and Matt, enjoying the festivities.

Chocolate makes everyone happy and this night was no exception. Paired with so many delicious goodies, we gobbled it like hungry badgers. Om nom nom.

It's Chip!

Chef Jeffrey and Melanie, holding a boatload of veggies.

Fondue in full force with Denise, Wendy and Clint.

Chocolate fantasy fondue!

It was a perfect evening, with lots of laughter and loads of fondue. Here are the three recipes for you!

Cheese Fondue
Serves 5


1 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 pound shredded Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes


Simmer wine in fondue pot. Add Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese, 1/4 pound at a time. Stir after each addition of cheese until melted. Stir in flour. When all the cheese has melted, stir in salt and nutmeg. Serve with cut-up French bread.

How about that Tomato Fondue? Here you go:

Yield : Serves 6


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium (4oz) onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 medium (2lb) very ripe tomatoes, peeled, in summer, or 2½ × 14oz cans tomatoes in winter
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and sugar to taste
1 tablespoon any of the following: freshly chopped mint or torn basil or a mixture of thyme, parsley, lemon balm, and marjoram
Balsamic vinegar


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, toss until coated, cover and sweat on a gentle heat until soft but not colored. It is vital for the success of this dish that the onions are completely soft before the tomatoes are added. Slice the peeled tomatoes and add with all the juice to the onions and garlic.

Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and sugar (canned tomatoes need lots of sugar because of their high acidity). Add the herbs. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for about 10 minutes more, or until the tomato softens. Cook fresh tomatoes for a shorter time to preserve the lively fresh flavor. Canned tomatoes need to be cooked for longer depending on whether you want to use the fondue as a vegetable, sauce, or filling.

Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking to greatly enhance the flavor.

For a stunning conclusion, you will need the recipe for Chocolate Fondue. This is it.

Servings: 2-4


1 lb dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
1 cup Nutella
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Kahlua


1 Combine chocolate and whipped cream together in a saucepan.
2 Heat stirring frequently, over low heat until chocolate is melted.
3 Stir in Kahlua and Nutella.
4 Serve warm with biscotti or amoretti cookies or fresh fruit dippers.

There you have it. It is not hard to do and it is a fun, interactive way to get guests to mingle.

A million thanks to Beka Cookware, Chef Jeffrey, Chip and all our uber cool friends!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Modern English – I Melt With You


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Clint says:

    I love that song… and that party!!

  2. Chip says:

    …and a good time was had by all. Thank you for including me in the fab food and fun!

  3. Patti says:

    Clint, Wasn’t it the best time? xoxo, P

  4. Patti says:

    Chip, What a blast! Thanks again for sharing your fab wines! xoxo, Patti

  5. Wendy says:

    So much fun! Thanks again for having me!

  6. Patti says:

    Wendy, thanks so much for joining us! xoxo, Patti