I am already so excited for next week. The re-runs, they are almost over! New Ace of Cakes, Dinner: Impossible, not to mention NFNS! It’s time to party!

So, I have a couple of “favorite ways” to party, two of which really stand out as delicious entertainment: tapas and fondue! I love getting people involved with their food, and both methods really take advantage of delicious farmer’s produce. You just head out to your market of choice and pick out their freshest, most delightful-looking goods that look like they would go well with either chocolate or cheese – or would do well presented on a plate with crackers!

My personal recipe for fondue? It’s just a simple ganache, only with more chocolate to make it a bit thicker. You start with 3/4 a cup of cream being heated over a double boiler and add a half a bag of chocolate chips (splurge here. Maybe don’t splurge on wontons, but here get the good brand, get dark chocolate, get your personal squee when it comes to chocolate. Make yourself happy), stir until melted. If it’s too thin, add more chocolate until you get the idea that you could put a strawberry in and it’d come out looking like heaven.

Pour this substance into a tealight fondue, or, if you’re like me and sadly don’t have a fondue set, pour it into a little bowl rigged to be 4-6 inches off of the table, and then light a tealight under this. If you had a couple lobster butter bowls (my parents like crab, as much as the kids do, so they have this sort of one-use wonder), you could easily scatter them around your setup for ease of use.

The cheese – it’s just an alfredo sauce minus the pasta! You start with a roux, use milk (or if you’re using a sharp cheese, beef stock, yum!) to make your bechamel and just use whatever cheese you think suits best. Be careful here, because different kinds of cheeses melt or curdle at different temperatures – if you’re putting in both a hard and a soft cheese, (a blue cheese might be a bad idea. I don’t know how well they melt into sauces? If you have experience with this, please comment!) you definitely want to add them at separate times. This is not to say it won’t go well or isn’t worth it, I love using sharp cheddar and cream cheese together.

But more than anything, fondue is a matching exercise. Dipping beef and carrots and chunks of potato goes well with a strong cheddar fondue (definitely use the beef stock. Make it when you make the beef!). It also makes meat and potatoes feel fancy. Really, really fancy. Anything feels a bit fancier when you skewer it on the end of an adorable fork and dip it neatly into beautiful sauce.

Dipping chicken, asparagus, and tomato, however, can be made to feel much less elegant than chicken fresco when you do it with your fingers into a light mozzarella, or better, pepperjack and eat like ravenous hordes. So it’s really up to you!