A fondue on New Year’s eve

It can be assembled in little time and doesn’t need you to spend hours in the kitchen, says Teja Lele Desai

So, now that New Year’s is round the corner, many of us are finally looking to entertain. But if you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, why don’t you fondue? The slight nip in the air is the perfect time to throw a fondue party.

The best part? It can be assembled in little time, doesn’t need you to spend hours in the kitchen and ends up in great feedback most of the time.

We put together a list of dos and don’ts for the perfect bash:

Let there be enough

Ensure you have ample fondue pots and forks on hand. Ten people sharing four forks and sticking them into a tiny pot bubbling on a tea light doesn’t really cut it.

Let there be a theme

Who doesn’t enjoy theme-based soirées? Plan a 1970s or 1980s party — guests come attired in costumes relevant to that time and dip away as classic tunes play in the background. Let your creative juices run as you explore themes like vampire gothic, fantasy, vintage, military, Victorian, sci-fi and Bollywood. Or else, try creating fondue versions of popular combos like tomato soup and grilled cheese, or fish and chips.

Let there be courses

Rather than putting all that you have out there, create a formal dinner feel with courses. Fondues lend themselves well to a three-course meal — appetizer, main dish and dessert.

Ideal scenario? Go for a cheese-based dip (with bread cubes, soup sticks and veggies such as broccoli, peppers and baby carrots) in the first round. Follow up with a savoury sauce served with cubed grilled chicken, prawns, fish meat or shrimp. Round things off in style with a sweet sauce flanked by cake, cookies, fruits and dried fruit.

Let there be proper prep

Do most of the prep work the day before and on the day of the party. No slicing fruit, veggies and cheese as the guests are walking in. Ensure that you have enough tea lights/candles to keep your pot bubbling through the night.

If your fondue has turned out too thick, don’t dilute with water. Opt for something flavoursome such as chicken or vegetable stock, wine or beer.

Let it be a BYO bash

Who said a fondue party can’t be a potluck? It adds to the variety and creativity so let guests know what kind of fondue you’ll be making — savoury, sweet, cheesy or chocolaty — and let them get their share. Ensure that the food they get is prepped and ready to serve.

Let there be rules

Don’t assume that all your guests are well versed in fondue etiquette. Lay down some ground rules: no eating from dipping forks (provide dinner forks), following the dipping order (clockwise or counter-clockwise), and no children under eight allowed (we want dipping, not dropping!)

Once everything is in place, let the party begin!

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