Isn't she so pretty?! And this is how good she looks at 5AM the morning of running a half marathon! I know, right?? She's a natural beauty that is also hilarious, deep, wise & just one of the coolest people on the planet. She always has the best recipes & is THE person to call if you're planning throwing a fondue party. She agreed to guest blog this week about fondue parties...
Take it away Kaur...
Please let me introduce myself: my name is Kauri Tallant, and I am guest blogging for Heidi, due to the fact that she just got hitched last weekend and has more important activities to engage in than blogging. Nonetheless, she will return next week as Mrs. Stoudt!
Heidi and I met for the first time during our freshman year of college, while on a hay ride. I knew that we would be best friends when we both started singing Tim McGraw’s Something Like That, rehearsing every word of the lyrics in unison. Shortly thereafter, we would begin the ritual of weekly line dancing at Boots & Roses.
Enough of the history of our relationship, let’s get into the subject of planning cheap parties, since that’s what this blog is about. This week’s topic is planning an affordable…
I was first introduced to fondue as a young child. I recall being at the home of my parents’ friends and being in the basement with all of the other kiddos at the party, eating pizza and drinking pop (which I would soon learn is translated “Coke” in the South). I walked upstairs to talk to my parents and was shocked to find the adults dipping bite-sized pieces of food into chocolate and cheese dips while they sipped on wine. That very night I made a pact to myself that when I was old enough to host parties, I would not serve pizza and coke but would introduce my guests to the finer things in life.
I began hosting fondue parties in college and have continued to host at least two yearly. This past weekend, I hosted a dessert fondue party at my house for the purpose of a fundraiser for some friends who are traveling overseas to serve the less fortunate.
Here’s what I did: I told guests that I would make the dips if they would sign up for dippers as well as bring a donation for our friends’ trip. I took a flower vase and printed a sign for donations to be place on the food table to remind guests that this party was not just about chocolate:
I prepped everything before guests arrived, placing many empty bowls and plates on the serving table, so that as guests brought in their dippers, they could place them directly in containers on the table.
I made Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate fondue dips. I have never purchased a fondue pot over $2.00 (I have seven, which I have picked up at yard sales or have been given as gifts). Here are my favorite sweet recipes:
Dark Chocolate Fondue
1 cup heavy cream
½ stick unsalted butter
1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (12 oz) package milk chocolate morsels
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and butter. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Stir in morsels until melted and smooth. Transfer to fondue pot.
White Chocolate Fondue
12 oz. white chocolate morsels
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. corn syrup
2 t. butter
2 t. heavy cream
Melt morsels and heavy cream in a saucepan. Place sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a small pan and blend; add in the 2 t. of heavy cream. Pour the first mixture into a fondue pot. Then pour the second mixture on top of the white chocolate mixture in a swirl.
I recruited my friends in the stirring process so that I could greet guests:
I created a Facebook event for the party and made a list of dipper suggestions for guests, asking them to write on the wall what they would be bringing. Here was my list of suggestions: Bananas, Strawberries, Pineapple, Apples, Peaches, Cheesecake, Pound Cake, Angel Food Cake, Rice Krispie Treats, Doughnut Holes, Animal Crackers, Vanilla Wafers, Marshmellows, Graham Cracker Sticks, and Pretzels. I asked that guests cube their food beforehand. Knowing that some would not follow the instructions, I set up a cutting station.
As with my fondue pots, I have picked up fondue forks at yard sales or at home goods stores. Here were my serving suggestions for guests:
“You are more than welcome to eat the fondue traditionally, which would mean standing around the table and dipping dippers into the pots. I don’t mind exchanging saliva, but others may, so I would suggest that you load up a plate of dippers and pour chocoalte over them”. I had a bowl of crushed up graham crackers so that guests could dip marshmellows into the chocolate fondue and then dip into the graham cracker crumbs to make s’mores.
When I first began doing fondue parties, I would have trouble with the attendance of male guests. They would make comments such as, “a couple strawberries and pieces of bread are not going to fill me up”. I think that I have managed to break that stigma. Look at these manly men with tattoos dipping away:
As a matter of fact, at one point during the party, I stepped in the kitchen, and several guys had scooted their chairs around the table to dive in.
I am excited to announce that the party was a SUCCESS: it cost me under $20.00, it fed 17 people dessert, and it raised $270 for my friends.
Side note: I really enjoy fondue parties where cheese and chocolate are served so that I don’t feel like I’m going to have a sugar attack. I decided to just do a dessert party this time in order to cut costs. But, for your benefit, here is the recipe for my favorite savory dip as well as dipper suggestions for savory dips.
1.5-2 cups milk
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, cubed
1.5 cups grated Parmean cheese
½ tsp. garlic salt
In a large saucepan, cook and stir milk and cream cheese over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Cook and stir until heated through and pour into fondue pot.
Dippers for Cheese Fondue:
Breads (Hawaiian, Italian, French, Beer), Tortillas, Chips, Pretzels, Meat Balls, Chicken, Ham, Turkey, Little Smokies, Potatoes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Tortelini, Pretzels.
Thanks so much Kauri! Next Saturday (August 20th) will be our outdoor wedding reception but I'll try & post one of my projects from the reception next week! AND...you guys are going to be the first ones to see a wedding picture of Mike & I! Check out the blog next Sunday August 21st!