Not long after Christmas was in the books, we attended a party at our friends’ house to celebrate the new year. We were talking about various traditions, and I mentioned my family’s New Year’s Eve fondue dinner. My dear friend, Cecilia, commented that she had been craving that very thing and that we had to have a fondue party in the near future. As it happens, my husband had just bought a fondue set for me, so we made a date to indulge in decadent melted cheese and a wide array of delicious bites to dip into it.
When planning the menu, I knew we had to have a variety of dippers, going beyond the traditional crusty bread and sliced apples and pears. We needed meats to satisfy hearty winter cravings, and vegetables to counter the richness of the cheese. For the meats, I opted to make mini sausage links (see note) and, in a nod to Chicken Cordon Bleu, ham-wrapped chicken bites doused in a decadent sage-butter-wine sauce. For vegetable dippers, I made roasted red potatoes, Ree Drumond’s Burgundy Mushrooms, and crisp cornichon (if you’re unfamiliar with this term, they are super cute and ultra flavorful mini-pickles). A simple, fresh mixed greens salad was also provided.
On this rare occasion, I opted not to serve an hors d’oeuvre, but specialty drinks were a must. We started with Pomegranate Mules—a winter riff on a Moscow Mule—which was a refreshing foil to the richness of the meal. After dinner, our friend Tyler made his signature Old Fashioned cocktails—so freaking good!
For dessert, we bought Macarons from YUM!, one of our favorite local bakeries. As there were three children present (ages 5, 4, and 1), we had fun cupcakes (also from YUM!) for them to enjoy.
To decorate, I kept it simple: The Fondue Pot was the centerpiece, set on top of a dusty rose table runner from the Hearth & Hand Collection by Magnolia at Target. To provide some warmth and glow, the table was dotted with white votive candles scattered amongst bowls and platters of food. The serving dishes were all white, and have been collected over the years. Place settings included our “good china” plates, forks from our everyday flatware, and rose and white-striped napkins that I found at Home Goods. The children ate off of plastic sectioned plates—Paw Patrol and Star Wars themed—with matching forks (my son insisted I include this detail).
Sliced Apples & Pears
Mixed Greens Salad with Crumbled Gorgonzola & Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Tyler’s Old Fashioned Cocktails
Macarons & Cupcakes
🧀 To make mini sausages, take breakfast sausages and pinch them in half in the center of the link. Twist the halves in opposite directions, creating two separate mini-links. Snip the casing in the center and, viola, you have two little baby-sized sausages.
🧀🧀 If you have small children running amok, as we did, it’s important to safe-guard the area in which your fondue pot may be plugged in (if it’s an electric one like mine). If you have a fancy-scmancy fondue set with a burner, do what you can to prevent little hands from getting near the flames. As this is entirely situational, I’m not going to tell you how to go about this…I’m just providing a friendly reminder that kids always seem to get into everything they are not supposed to (they are obnoxious like that), so be vigilant.