Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fondue Potluck Party Swag Swap

I had my 3rd Annual Holiday Party this past week and for the 1st
time I got really ambitious and decided to make it a Swag Swap Potluck Fondue Party.  I will probably never do all those things at one time again since I pretty much ran around my place getting bowls, plates and gifts organized and spent little time actually sitting down and enjoying the party.  Not exactly what I had planned.   So what did this ambitious party entail?  Well I asked everyone to bring something that they may have gotten as free Swag that they didn't need or maybe a gift they didn't want, but something they basically wanted to get rid of but was brand new.  I made sure I had extra stuff of my own so that people could choose from a lot of things and maybe swap for something they wanted when we did the gift choosing.  It worked out in the end but as usual people don't like to follow the rules.  A couple of people didn't bring things so it was a good thing that I had extra things.  So it worked out in the end but I am stuck with all the crappy things nobody wanted.   May donate them to charity or something.

As for the food.  Doing a Potluck party sounds like it would make your life easier but it can sometimes be a challenge.  It was in this case because I had a list of what I wanted people to bring but most people brought what they wanted to bring.   A couple of friends called on the day of and in one case in the middle of the party to see what I needed but there were 4 bags of chips,  not on the list,  and 2 containers of pineapples.   Because a few people were late it meant that I had to spend more time in the kitchen during the party trying to organize the ingredients that they bought that needed to be cut and washed and put into containers for the fondue.

If you do a Potluck party I would suggest that you tell your guest to bring their food in containers that are ready to just be placed on the table and don't need to be washed and cut up or placed into another container.   Also make sure it doesn't need to be heated up in the oven or on the stove unless you check with the host prior because the host may have other items that are being served that need to be heated up which will make it difficult to get all the food organized at the same time.  

My party invite was from 4pm to 8pm.  No one arrived before 4:30 and then staggered in at a 15-20 minute interval.   That meant I had to keep stopping what I was doing while getting the food ready to keep answering my phone to let people into the building.    If there is a start time I feel that it is rude to show up an hour or more later when it's a Potluck party when people are waiting for the food you bring before everyone can eat at the party.   A few of my guests had to work or had meetings so they informed me that they might be late but everyone arrived at least a half an hour to a couple of hours after the start time of the party.

I have a very small kitchen so with all the extra serving platters and containers that were brought into my place and the cooking utensils used to heat things my kitchen filled up pretty quickly.   Luckily one of my friends offered to help do some dishes in the middle of the party to clear some space and another friend offered to help her.   It still took me another 45 minutes to wash the rest of the dishes the next day and I used paper plates and plastic cups and cutlery to save on the washing up.

Fondue Parties are really fun because they are interactive but be prepared for a lot of prepping of individual ingredients and a little extra washing up afterwards.

I also made some Ikea meatballs which were fabulous but also contributed to the extra clean up with the baking tray, the large pot they were put into and the little pot the sauce was made in.  But those were really worth it and none were left behind.

And on top of that I made a Turkey Chili as per a request of one of my friends.   I think he didn't think there would be enough food to fill you up with only fondue.   Not true at one of my parties.   That went over well and I would do that again because it was easy to prep it in advance and just let it sit warming in a Crockpot and ready to serve.   But don't forget that it will require extra bowls and spoons to serve.

All the little details that need to be thought of for a smooth party include the following:

1. Enough Plates, cutlery, cups and bowls for any and extra guests.
2. Somewhere to put all the garbage. ( my mistake was having a recycling bag that ended up as a garbage bag)
3. Serving platters and utensils ready and organized for anyone bringing something unexpected.
4. Lot's of ice to keep drinks chilled.
5. Have space to be able to clear up the dishes and be ready to clean up accidental spills.

I had 3 Fondue Pots going at my party with one for cheese, one for Spinach Dip and one for Chocolate.  I had to do them in stages to be able to handle heating them up and having space to serve them.

Add the extra crock pot and pot of meatballs on the stove and you have a bit of a hosting juggling act.

Oh and did I forget to mention that before the chocolate fondue I had to organize the Swag Swap exchange.

It was an exhausting party for me (the host) but my guests had a really great time.

It was a challenge to keep all the balls or fondue pots in the air at the same time but I think it was worth it.
But the next party will be a massive One Pot dish with a side salad and some cheese and crackers.  

Keep it Simple and you will have a lot more fun as a Host.   Take it from me the Party Over Achiever.

I was so pooped the next day that I spent most of the day resting.


  1. Sorry I missed it! The meatballs look great! How did they taste?

    I'm a rules person as well, so I would have probably showed up at or just after 4pm.

    In the end everybody had a great time and I think that's what you need to remember the most :)

  2. The meatballs were amazing... Will make them again... way better than what I probably would have made myself.

    yes everyone had fun... i had fun but next time I will spend less time in the kitchen.


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