Fond Of Fondue?

"Another fondue pot," exclaimed the bride. "Here are two more," responded the groom. Sound familiar? It seemed as if a fondue pot was considered de rigueur in gift giving back in the 1970s and then these versatile pots found themselves tucked away in some far corner of your kitchen, never to be seen again. Three decades later, fondue has returned to its rightful position in things culinary. So many foods to be dipped in so many sauces...

Originating in Switzerland in the 1800s, fondue grew in importance there as both cheese and wine were significant industries. Traditional Swiss fondue is made from combining two kinds of cheese, Gruyere and Emmenthaler. Dry white wine is used to help keep direct heat away from the cheese and also to emphasize the flavor. Kirsch (a clear cherry brandy) and garlic were also added as a flavor enhancement.

A traditional fondue pot, made of Earthenware, is also known as a caquelon or câclon. This type of pot is best used for cheese or dessert (chocolate) fondues which do not require a high heat. It is wide and narrow, permitting even heat distribution and retention. Ceramic pots are also good for cheese and dessert.

A deep pot on a stable stand is needed for a hot oil or broth fondue. Care must be taken to choose a pot that is not top heavy - hot oil hurts! Pots constructed of Enameled Cast Iron are popular for this reason. Look for a pot with a smooth interior for ease of cleanup. Enameled covered cast iron pots may be used for any/all types of fondue.

A Stainless Steel fondue pot is ideal for dishes needing high heat for cooking, such as meat or seafood. Some of these metal pots have an electrical heat source.

Fondue Forks are an essential accessory to the fondue ritual. They are at least 10 inches long and should have tines strong enough to spear the food being dipped. Also used to dip fondue foods are long Bamboo Skewers. Sometimes bamboo skewers allow the bread or meat to slide off, right into the fondue pot, never to be seen again. With both long forks and skewers you must try not to let your mouth or lips touch the ends. Remember, you are eating out of a communal pot. Double dipping? Yuck!

There are four basic fuel sources to use under your fondue pot: 1) Butane can be used when making cheese, oil or broth, and chocolate fondue. An extremely safe fuel, butane allows easy regulation of the heat; 2) Alcohol is the best choice for oil or broth fondues. It s considered safe to use but is not as easily regulated as the others; 3) Gel Fuel gives the best results for cheese or chocolate fondues. Very user friendly, it is available in gel paste, canned sterno, and gel sterno; 4)Tea Lights or small votive candles generate a low level of heat, making this source ideal for heating chocolate. No matter what the heat source, ALL fondues should be melted or preheated on the stovetop prior to placing it on the tabletop burner. Cold oil just does not do the job.

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About The Author, Terry Kaufman
Terry Kaufman is Chief Editorial Writer for and See more on Cookware, at©2006 Terry Kaufman. No reprints without permission.