Serious Eats: Talk
What to serve with fondue?
My sister is turning 30, so my wife and I offered to throw her a party (we have more space than she does, and my wife used to cook professionally). She told us she wanted to serve cheese fondue for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. We didn't like the idea for a variety of reasons -- it seems gimmicky as a party theme, it's messy, it requires sitting around a table and our table seats fewer people than invited, and it is in no way a balanced meal (but seems too heavy to just be a party "snack"). It also offers no alternatives to someone who doesn't like fondue (this is the case for at least one guest), unless they want to just eat bread cubes for dinner. So we tried to talk to her out of it, but she insisted that was what she wanted, and we backed down. It's her birthday and her party, not ours.
Now that the party is approaching, we are worried about it. We love to entertain and we put a lot of thought into menus, and we feel like this one just doesn't work. Although it was my sister's menu choice, we feel an obligation as hosts to provide a good meal to guests. We'll have fruit and veggies, as well as bread, to dip into the cheese, and we talked my sister into having a salad as well (which will have apple and celery root in it for a bit more bulk). But we still feel like it's not a full meal. We'd like to have something to serve alongside the fondue that won't take away from it but will offer a bit more substance, especially to people who don't love fondue or don't want to/can't eat a lot of rich cheese. At the same time, I'd like it to be something that kind of "goes" with the fondue -- i.e. not a pizza! I thought of tarte flambee/flammekueche, but my wife thinks it's too much bread. Does anyone have any ideas? We're totally stumped.