Cheese fondue is one of those retro recipes that never really goes out of style. It's delicious, easy to make, and the communal nature of serving and eating lends itself to quiet conversation, lots of laughter, and contented silences while everybody digs in. If you're serving more than 4 people, have two fondue pots going to make eating easier. I recommend no more than 3-4 people per fondue pot.
The menu below offers several recipes for fondue. Traditional cheese fondue is made with white wine, flour, Gruyere cheese and sometimes kirsch. The other recipes are more child-friendly, and are also good if your guests prefer cheeses other than Gruyere or Swiss (as most children do!). I recently discovered that soft breadsticks, cut into pieces, make a fabulous dipper for fondue. You get a bit of crust in every bite, and they can be flavored so many ways. Other good dippers include hot and tender meatballs, slices of ripe, buttery avocado, and juicy apples and pears.
A crisp salad, some fresh winter fruit or the wonderful 24 Hour Salad, a fabulous dessert, and some champagne or sparkling white wine or apple juice round out this wonderful meal.
Light candles, turn off all lights but the Christmas tree, throw some tunes on the CD, and enjoy your cozy dinner. Have a wonderful and safe New Year.
New Year's Eve Fondue Menu
- Cheese Fondue
This classic recipe is simple to make if you follow the instructions carefully.
- Pizza Fondue
Ground beef, pizza sauce, and lots of cheese make this hearty fondue a kid favorite. Serve it with tiny hot meatballs, breadsticks, focaccia wedges, and pepperoni slices.
- Beer Cheese Fondue
Beer, cheese, mustard, and onion combine for a flavorful fondue. Serve it with pretzel sticks and rods, along with lots of fresh vegetables.
- American Cheese Fondue
I don't think there's a child around who wouldn't like this recipe! It's mild yet flavorful; serve it with hot Vienna sausages.
- Mild Cheese Fondue
Havarti and Colby cheeses along with chicken broth make this fondue creamy smooth and appealing to everyone.
- Cheese Puffs
These tiny popovers flavored with cheese are a marvelous dipper for fondue; they're crisp and crunchy, yet melt in your mouth. Yum.
- Bloomer Loaf
This simple and hearty whole wheat bread takes hours to rise, so all you have to do is make it, knead it, and get on with your life.
- French Bread
French bread is easy to make; this recipe in particular uses only four ingredients. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your water and you are guaranteed success.
- Easy Sourdough French Bread
Sour cream provides the 'sour' in this easy yeast bread recipe.
- Soft Garlicky Breadsticks
These delicious breadsticks are perfect for dipping into the warm melty cheese. You can leave them whole if you don't mind double-dipping, or cut them into pieces for the more fastidious.
- Pear and Greens Salad
Sweet pears and a dressing flavored with celery seed make a delicious salad that's a refreshing contrast to the rich fondues.
- Mixed Greens and Pea Salad
Baby peas add sweetness and crunch to mixed greens in this simple salad recipe.
- 24 Hour Salad
This creamy salad is made ahead of time for extra convenience; and it's delicious!
- Strawberries with Chocolate
Make a chocolate fondue and dip ripe, luscious strawberries, cubes of pound cake, and pear slices for a fabulous and easy dessert.
- Pecan Cakes
I adore this recipe and save it for the most special occasions. Have your kids help with the frosting; make a party out of the chore!
- Chocolate Crepes With Caramel Sauce
Everything is made ahead in this decadent recipe; just assemble them and serve when you're ready for dessert.
- Christmas Cookies
A collection of Christmas cookies is perhaps the best dessert of all; lots of choices for your guests and little work for you.
If you are feeling ambitious, you can offer some homemade French bread as a dipper. When your guests come into the house, it will "smell like heaven", as my husband always says when bread is baking. Tiny cheese puffs are also a wonderful dipper - the texture contrast between the crusty, crispy puffs and the smooth, melting cheese is fabulous. Or buy some wonderful bakery bread to ease your party preparation chores, and it will be wonderful.
For some different dipper choices, consider serving crisp, tangy apples, hot and savory meatballs, tiny filled sandwiches, cooked carrots or asparagus, cubes of ham or turkey, tiny cooked new potatoes, cherry tomatoes or other fresh vegetables, toasted English muffin wedges, or cubed focaccia along with the cubed French bread.
To make the whole menu easier on yourself, you can purchase prepared fondue in the refrigerator section of many grocery stories. It comes in a foil lined pouch in a box and you just melt it on the stove top and pour it into a fondue pot. It's always perfect and so much easier!
Happy New Year!