Let's Fondue!

by Cace

I remember eating fondue when I was a kid. How much fun it was to spear those little pieces of food and swirl them around in the yummy cheese. I decided I wanted to purchase a fondue set and started doing some research into cooking and serving fondue, I thought I would share what I learned.

What is Fondue?

Fondue is a fun and unique way to cook a meal or dessert. Basically, it is small pieces of food dipped into a communal pot of cheese, chocolate, oil or broth.  Where fondue orientated is debatable, some say it came from the Swiss, while others say it came from the French. In America fondue parties became very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s but then fell out of style. Recently it has been making a comeback, and why not, it’s so much fun! Fondue can be a great way to bring the family together for a fun dinner or dessert night.  It’s a perfect theme to add something unique to a small dinner party, celebration, or shower.  It can also be used for an extra special romantic dinner for two.

The basics of fondue:

The pot sits over a small burner. The food is generally served in small bowls, cut into bite sized pieces which can be easily skewered and dipped into the pot. The participants all have their own fork or skewer and plate. You cook and than eat your own food.

The Pot:

There are two basic types of fondue pots, ceramic and metal.

Ceramic pots are best used for cheese, chocolate and other dessert types that do not require high heat. High temperature can cause them to crack.

Metal pots are used for oil, and broth fondue. Recipes that will be used for cooking seafood or meat, and any that requires high heat.  You can use a metal pot for cheese and chocolate, as long as your heat source can be regulated to low temperatures.

Many fondue sets come with both metal pots and ceramic inserts.

The Utensils:

Typically when you purchase your fondue pot, it will come with long fondue forks. These are normally color coded; this will help you and your guest to keep track of which fork belongs to which person.

Long bamboo skewers are a good choice for an alternative if you need extra utensils. These also come in handy if you are cooking meats or seafood’s as you can easily cook more than one piece at a time on a skewer. 

 You will also need:

Small plates or bowls to serve the foods you will be using in the fondue. Remember to always keep raw foods separate.

 Plates and regular forks for each person.

The fondue fork is for cooking the food only. You should not eat your food directly from the fondue fork as it can become dangerously hot, especially when cooking meats and seafood’s. You should transfer the food from the fondue fork to a plate and eat with a regular fork. This also prevents the spread of germs.

Preparing your food for fondue:

Cut all foods into bite sized pieces, cubes, slices or wedges.

All meats, seafood’s and fish should be precooked if dipping in a cheese sauce or any type that is not going to be at a high enough temperature to cook them thoroughly.

Some people also prefer to lightly steam veggies before hand as well.

Chilling fruits will help sauces stick to them better.

Crusty bread or day old breads or bagels work better than fresh breads. Fresh or soft bread is more likely to just fall apart in the fondue.

 

Dipping foods and dipping sauces:

The choices and possibilities are endless! You can be creative and experiment with foods and tastes. However, here are some idea’s to get you started.

Cheese Fondue Dippers:

Breads – Pretty much any type of bread taste good with cheese! Try French, Italian, Rye, Pumpernickel, Sourdough, your favorite flavor Bagel and Soft Pretzels.

Fruits – Apples, Pears, apricots, and seedless grapes.

Veggies - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Zucchini, Potatoes, Peppers, Tomatoes, Celery, Mushrooms, Beans, Pickles and baby Corn.

Meats - * pre-cooked* Chicken, Ham, Sausage, and Steak.

Seafood - *pre-cooked* Crab, Lobster, and Scallops.

Cheese Fondue

 1 cup dry white wine

 1/2 pound shredded Swiss cheese

 1/2 pound shredded Gruyere cheese

 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 1/4 teaspoon salt

 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simmer wine in fondue pot.  Slowly add Swiss cheese, Gruyere cheese. Stir after each addition of cheese until it is melted. Stir in flour, salt and nutmeg.

 

Broth and Oil based Fondue Dippers:

These types are more for cooking foods so you normally wouldn’t be using breads or fruit in them. 

Veggies – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Zucchini, Summer squash, Mushrooms, Radishes, Artichoke hearts, Sweet potato, Cabbage and Turnips.

Meats – Beef, Pork, Sausage, Chicken, Hot dogs, Meatballs, Lamb.

Seafood – Scallops, Shrimp, Lobster.

Fish – Halibut, Sea bass, Salmon, and Swordfish.

Broth Fondue:

2  bay leaves

2  cloves minced garlic

2  teaspoons dried parsley

1  teaspoon ground pepper

2  10.5 ounce cans beef broth

1  cup dry white wine

2  cups water

1  1 ounce package French onion soup mix

Mix all the ingredients in your fondue pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Bring to a boil when you are ready to begin cooking.

 

Chocolate and Dessert based Fondue Dippers:

“Breads” – Angel food cake, Brownies, Pound cake, Cookies, Pretzels, Cheese cake, Graham crackers and mini Muffins.

Fruit – Strawberries, Apples, Pineapple, Kiwi, Orange slices, Bananas, Cherries, Peaches, Melon and Raspberries.

Other stuff – Marshmallows, Popcorn, mini Candy bars, Rice Krispie treats, and Almonds.

Chocolate Fondue:

2 12 ounce bags milk chocolate chips

1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup freshly brewed coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sugar

Melt the chocolate with the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into fondue pot and keep temperature low to keep warm.  

 

Now grab those forks and Let’s Fondue!

A few cookbooks you might want to try.

Dip Into Something Different: A Colle...
Melting Pot Restaurants Inc
$29.95  $19.54
Great Party Fondues
Wiley
$16.95  $7.51
The Everything Fondue Cookbook: 300 C...
Adams Media
$17.99  $3.47
Updated: 06/27/2011, Cace
 
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Tolovaj on 05/13/2012

I have tried several different types of fondues and must admit to hardly wait next occasion to enjoy this fun way of eating. Thanks for reminding me!

Holistic_Health on 07/06/2011

We have a fondue restaurant nearby and that place stays busy. I've got to try this.

Guest on 06/27/2011

YUMMY! I love fondue! We have a great fondue restaurant called The Melting Pot nearby. I haven't done much fondue at home, but thanks for the recipes. Now I'm motivated to give it a whirl.

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