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Fondue Etiquette

Gathering around the communal pot requires a different set of manners

For the Host

-Always plan on plenty of food. When people are eating bite-sized foods, they tend to eat more as they can't visualize what they're consuming over the course of the evening. Also, because a fondue setting encourages conversation between bites, people tend to eat more.

-A good party host will always have extra skewers for those who make a mistake and touch the utensils with their lips. At each plate, provide two forks. The skewers can be grouped at strategic locations.

-Knives should also be made available for those who want to make a smaller portion for dipping. Bite sizes are usually about 1-inch square, but some foods, such as strawberries, may be too large for some people.

-Always have plenty of cocktail napkins available for spills and drips.

-For safety purposes, serve oil- or broth-based fondues in a seated setting. Ideally, you will want one more than one fondue setup so that guests will not have to reach. Sauce-based dipping fondues are fine on a kitchen island as long as they're within reach of everyone.

-Always keep raw meats and veggies separated by type.

For the Guest

-This is perhaps the only time that guests are allowed to "double dip." However, the rules are strict. Never allow your lips to touch the skewers. Grasp the food with your teeth and gently pull away. In the case of a meat fondue, the food is transferred to a plate with a fork and then eaten with a second fork. In fact, you can eat any fondue food this way, if you prefer. Again, two forks per person should always be made available.

-When you spear a piece of baguette or other crusty bread, be sure to include crust to add support on the skewer.

-Drips are a fact of life. However, after dipping, holding the food over the pot for a second or two will eliminate much of the mess.

-When skewering a piece of meat that is to be cooked, make sure the tines pierce completely through with a small section showing on the other side. This adds stability and will keep meat off the bottom of the pot.


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