The Fantastic Fondue Platter
On the list of platters that I love to make for friends and family at home, fondue platters are probably some of my absolute favorites! There is something about sitting around a pot of melted cheese with your friends dipping copious varieties of other foods into the center with a long fork only to watch the dreamy meltiness slowly drip off before popping it into your mouth. Yes please!
The best part is that as complicated as it all looks, it's actually fairly simple to create and even simpler if you choose to go the route of buying premade fondue and then just heating it up in a double boiler or fondue pot.
I'll include a recipe for a beer fondue that I love at the end, but in all honesty we have access to some of the best already made fondues in the world so more often than not those are my go to.
If you are planning a fondue platter for the first time you will want to consider a few things before you begin your shopping list.
- How many people will you be sharing this wonderful treat with?
Once everything is mixed and melted down, you will want each person to have at least 5-6oz. & more if you can swing it. Trust me, nobody at the table is going to want to dip lightly!
- Will this just be an appetizer or will it the replace a meal?
With that understood, you can start to fill in a list! Try to grab one or two things in each of these categories:
Meat! (assuming it's not a vegetarian platter) I find that the best style of meat to place on a fondue platter is some kind of sausage. I prefer the Kielbasa. I've also seen people use steak and cubed ham before. As long as you can poke it with your skewer, it should work!
P.S. Hopefully this goes without saying but make sure it's cooked and don't serve it raw. The fondue will not cook it for you.
Carbs! While it feels like a dirty word to use these days, you want them on this platter! I usually aim for at least two types of carbs. One that is warm and soft like soft baked pretzels, a French Baguette or even dinner rolls can work.
The second should be crunchy. My go to is thick pretzel sticks because I love the way they look on the tray with everything else and you can dip them without the skewer which is just as satisfying.
Veggies! Having two options for veggies available is a good rule of thumb. This is an area where there are almost no rules. I've used broccoli, asparagus, mini corns, carrot sticks, fingerling potatoes (boiled until soft enough for the skewer but not so soft they won't stay on the skewer, a couple drops of oil also helps them look more appealing on your tray), brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini and even mushrooms. If you think it's great with cheese it probably works!
Fruit! There is sometimes some debate about this one but almost everyone I know likes a sweet and salty combo at some level. The most popular options for the fondue platter tend to be apples, grapes or pears. I'm sure there are other fruits that would work but those seem to be the ones most people gravitate towards and almost always work.
I also suggest picking up a dried fruit like nectarines or apricots. You would be surprised over the texture/flavor/temperature experience you can get from trying dried fruit and hot cheese.
Cheese! Yes, you can dip cheese into your cheese! I usually have at least one cubed semi firm to semi soft cheese option available on my fondue platters. My go to is a baby Swiss because it's creamy and mild and it helps keep things from feeling too heavy. You could also use a mild cheddar or a Monterey jack as an option.
Once you have all of your ingredients you can start creating a platter. If I'm serving at my own house, I pick a large long board to create a centerpiece at the table that everyone can reach. I have a large rectangular table so this works for me. If your table is round, you might choose to do a large round board and use a lazy Suzan under it so people can rotate it easier.
I make sure to leave room in the middle for the fondue pot and I try to build a flow using the ingredients in a way that nobody will have to move in order to try everything. I love to use the color and texture contrasts in ingredients next to each other to help showcase their own uniqueness.
Once your platter is built you can either heat up your pre-made fondue or begin cooking your own. I would advise that if you are making your fondue from scratch that you have everything already prepped before you start building your platter.
This is an exciting treat for your friends and family to see on your table. You will most certainly be pleased at the shared joy over putting food onto a stick and dipping it into a warm pot of melted cheese!
See my favorite beer fondue recipe below!
4 Cups of shredded cheese (Even portions between Gruyere, Medium White Cheddar & Gouda tossed in about 3-4 tablespoons flour)
Allow it to sit out for about 30 minutes before adding it to your hot liquid
1 Cup beer - Choose a variety that is less on the "hoppy" side and with the least amount of bitterness. I've found that I prefer a pilsner or light amber beer compliments this cheese mix the best.
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp artisan mustard
2 tsp Worcester sauce
Add beer to medium sauce pan and turn onto medium heat
Add Heavy cream, minced garlic, mustard and Worcester sauce
Allow to simmer almost to a boil and then turn off heat.
Slowly add the cheese in batches and then transfer to fondue pot for serving.
love in abundance,
~Crystal @ Grazing Goddess Charcuterie