Before you can host your first fondue party, you're going to have to acquire a fondue set (or, like me, a few fondue pots). The kind of pot you need depends on what kind of fondue you're making, so check out the information below to decide what kind of pot would best suit your needs. You can always leave a comment if you have any questions or you need a suggestion.
A ceramic pot is only suitable for serving chocolate and cheese fondues which are usually prepared on the stove and then served in the pot. They can't be used to prepare broth or oil fondues as they won't get hot enough. Heat the ceramic pot with a tea light, but make sure you extinguish the flame when you’re done or the chocolate will burn.
Our first ceramic pot was this Orka Chocolate Fondue Pot from Amazon.com. It’s a small one, suitable for sharing a dessert fondue with 2-4 people after you've finished dinner.
We also noticed that our Friends-era giant latte mug sat firmly on the Orka stand, and we've used it for chocolate fondues, just for fun. (Scroll down for the picture.)
Our most recent purchase was a Boska Holland Tapas Cheese Fondue set. It's similar in size to our other little ceramic pot, but it's square and has legs that rest on a wooden platform. It only has two forks. We've used this one for our instant cheese fondue and fudgey chocolate fondue.
Metal pots heated with alcohol or gel burners are suitable for preparing broth fondues and oil fondues. It is harder to control the temperature with alcohol or gel burners, so I advise against using these types of pots for chocolate fondue unless you have a double boiler insert because chocolate needs gentle, even heat to melt nicely.
What's left of our cheese course from my birthday dinner at The Melting Pot in Charlottesville, Virginia. As you can see, the fondue was made in a metal pot with a double-boiler insert.
You can use a metal pot for cheese, but just keep an eye on it and adjust the heat if it gets too hot. At The Melting Pot restaurant, they use metal pots with double boiler inserts on burners to prepare each course.
I have a vintage metal fondue set. It doesn't have a double-boiler insert, and it's kind of small, so I only use it for broth and oil fondues. Anyway, I have an electric fondue pot, so I don't fuss with the burners unless I have to.
Electric pots can be used to prepare broth, oil, chocolate, or cheese fondue because the temperature can be controlled with a dial. Once you've added your liquid ingredients, you can add cheese or chocolate to melt right in the pot. My only "complaint" about electric pots is that using a burner or tea light is more romantic than plugging in your pot. However, since not every meal needs to set that kind of mood, I think an electric fondue pot is an excellent investment for those new to tabletop cooking.
An enameled fondue pot is technically a kind of metal pot as well. My enameled cast-iron pot is my favorite. The cast-iron retains the heat very well and distributes it evenly. Because of this, I don't feel the need to use a double boiler to prepare my cheese or chocolate fondues, so I can cook right in the pot on the stove, and easily move it over to the table and keep it warm with an alcohol or gel burner.
Making beer-cheese fondue
My enameled pot is a Le Creuset pot, but it's a vintage one I received as a gift. There are similar ones available on Amazon.com, but I haven’t seen any other ones in this color.
As I've mentioned, we've used a large coffee cup to prepare chocolate fondue. If you have a way to elevate a thick ceramic mug above a tea light, you can make your own pot.
This mug I've had since college found a new purpose as a little ceramic fondue pot for our mocha fondue
You can also stick a ceramic bowl or that same mug in a large crock pot with about an inch of water so it will act as a double boiler. A small bowl in a large fondue pot will also work the same.
A small slow cooker or crock pot can also be used to make a chocolate or cheese fondue, though it will take a while for the ingredients to melt. Serve a fiesta cheese fondue in a crock pot on the coffee table during your next movie night or during a sports game.
Use a regular cooking pot on a hot plate to prepare and serve any kind of fondue on the table. Use a double boiler insert for chocolate or cheese.
And that's all she wrote! Questions or comments? Let me know below!
Or check our full recipe index for even more ideas!
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.