Looking for inspiring fondue ideas? Well, what’s fondue to you? Depending on what your experience, fondue might be a vat of melted cheese or chocolate, or a cauldron of hot oil or broth. It might be a decadent dessert or a three-course meal. It might have been a staple at your house, a meal reserved for special occasions and holidays, a distant memory the groovy 1970s, or fond reminiscence from a vacation in Europe.
Fondue is all these things, and as tabletop cooking becomes more and more popular, there's no shortage of new fondue ideas: for an appetizer, dinner, or dessert, for a romantic date or a Superbowl party, for friends drinking wine or little ones dipping pretzels in chocolate.
Photo by tomislavmedak
If you are dusting off an old fondue pot, the kind of pot you have will determine what types of fondue you should make. A ceramic fondue pot is best for chocolate fondue and cheese fondue. Heated with a tea light, the pot shouldn't get hot enough to scald the contents. A metal fondue pot--stainless steel or enameled cast-iron--heated with a fondue burner is better for oil and broth fondues as they can reach the high temperatures needed to cook raw meats and vegetables. A metal fondue pot is also suitable for a cheese fondue, but avoid using metal with chocolate fondue. We've used our electric Cuisinart fondue pot for cheese as well as broth and oil fondues. It works well because you have a lot of control over the temperature.
Photo by jmettraux
If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can buy one online or search your local thrift stores. We've had good luck finding beautiful vintage fondue pots at thrift stores and yard sales, but our electric fondue pot was purchased online. Just keep in mind that if you want to make fondues with meat or vegetables cooked in oil or broth, you’ll need a metal fondue pot, and ceramic for chocolate.
Finally, you'll also need to select some fondue dippers. Will you be serving raw meat or making a vegetarian meal? What kind of fondue dipping sauces do you want to serve on the side? Do you want to coat your cookies in sweet fondue, or make your own chocolate-covered strawberries right at the table? Do you want to mix up sweet and savory flavors? Are you trying to pair your fondue with the right bottle of wine? As cliche as it is to say it, you have to admit that the possibilities are endless.
Some of my favorite online stores might have just what you need for your next tabletop meal!
Asian Food Grocer has a great selection of essential ingredients and many hard-to-find items.
Cilantro Cook Shop has a great selection of quality raclette and fondue sets.
For The Gourmet has an amazing selection of cheeses and chocolates.
Sephra specializes in chocolate, caramel and fruit fondues... and fountains.