Fonduethat iconic food experience of the 1960s and 70s. The mod-shaped pot filled with a warm cheese sauce and bits of bread and other edibles secured to long-handled forks brought a European touch to American homes in the mid-century. Over time, the fondue frenzy slipped away and the pot made its way to the back of the cupboard, to the attic, or a lonely spot on a yard sale table.
But eventually, everything comes back in style and the fondue experience has started to enjoy a resurgence in the new millennium. Suddenly, the vintage fondue pots are being dragged out of the attic and are simmering again. In addition, pricey fondue restaurants have started to emerge across the country. As alwayseverything old is new again!
If you’re looking for something a little bit different to entertain the kids during the next get-together, why not try an adaptation on the fondue theme with a “cool” kid’s fondue party. Whereas typical fondue involves the not so kid-friendly elements of an open heating source (to keep the fondue warm) and long-handled forks to spear the food to be dipped, you can eliminate those elements with a little creativity.
First offmatch the method of spearing food to be dipped to the age group doing the dipping. For a younger crowd, plastic forks or wooden frozen treat sticks (with rounded ends) are viable options. For an older crowd, fondue forks, regular forks, or bamboo skewers will do the job. In a pinch (or for dippers such as cookies or crackers) even clean fingers will do.
For a savory “fondue” for kids try dipping sauces like marinara sauce, ranch dressing, or nacho cheese sauce. “Dipper” choices could include: cheese cubes, crackers, toasted baguette slices, chunks of crusty bread, and vegetables (carrots, celery, broccoli florets, etc.)
For a dessert fondue, try sweet options such as chocolate syrup, fudge sauce, caramel, or fruited yogurt. Dippers might include: marshmallows, graham crackers, animal crackers, or fruit wedges (apple, pear, pineapple, strawberry, etc.)
For variety, try a few different sauces and supply a nice variety of dipper choices. Assemble a tray with the dipper items, add the sauce choices to some attractive, unbreakable bowls, put out the dipping utensils (and lots of napkins!) and let the fun begin! For the younger crowd, you may want to use smaller bowls in greater quantity to keep reaching (and potential messes) to a minimum. A plastic tablecloth will also help keep messes isolated and make cleanup a bit easier.
Encourage good manners and proper etiquette when the dipping begins. Make sure younger dippers learn to take turns. When possible, dipping should be done with a fork. If a fork isn’t logical and hygiene is a concern, provide a spoon so the sauce can be moved from the bowl to the food without sticky fingers diving three inches into the sauce. Try to make dippers bite-sized to lessen the possibility of “double-dipping.” Finally, it will be messy; so be prepared, relax, and just let the partiers have fun!
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