Fondue can be a pot of melted cheese, liquefied chocolate, or boiling-hot oil for cooking meats. The fun part is skewering nibbles on long forks and dipping into the communal pot. What better way to gather your best pals and truly share a meal.
Fondue for All Reasons
Girls Night In: chocolate fondue, baby! Get your best-friends-forever in front of the widescreen, tune in a chick flick and pull out all the forbidden goodies: brownie bites, Oreos, marshmallows, angel food cake, and strawberries. Now get dippin’ and dishin'.
Little Dippers: cheese fondue. Let the kids pick and prepare the dippers (sliced sausage, mini hot dogs, pretzels, veggie bites) because sometimes everything is better with melted cheese. Make it nacho cheese fondue by adding bottled salsa. Make it a total dip experience by serving it at your kid's next pool party.
Double Dip: cheese fondue for dinner; chocolate fondue for dessert. Turn this into a romantic dinner for two with candlelight, music, wine, and lots of succulent nibbles to feed each other.
All Dips, All the Time: entertain buffet style by setting up several fondue stations. Let guests wander and cook their own meats, vegetables, and desserts.
Planning the Menu
Start the meal with a salad. It's not fondue, but it's a nice way to whet the appetite for the main course.
Pick at least two savory fondue options to give guests variety.
Pull out all the stops for dessert by taking a basic recipe and embellishing it with added liqueurs and inventive dippers.
Fondue Tricks and Tips
Best food size: Aim for 1-inch cubes, just enough for one or two bites.
Best fondue pot: Ceramics work best for showcasing dessert fondue; metal pots work best for cooking meats and vegetables in oil, wine, or broth.
Best temperature: A tea light candle or low flame (a warm 120 degrees) keeps cheese or dessert fondues at perfect melting temperatures. If you’re cooking meats in a pot of hot oil, the oil needs to be kept at 375 degrees to cook food quickly and evenly.
Best oil: peanut oil. A low smoke point makes it best for high frying temperatures.
Best wine: Something acidic (like Sauvignon Blanc) helps keep cheese fondue smooth.
Best fast fix: Cheese mixture clumping? Add a few drops of lemon juice. Chocolate or butterscotch mixture separating? Whisk in a little more cream.
Best fondue fork stand-in: Long wooden skewers. Find them at the supermarket along with other supplies for outdoor grilling.