Tips and tricks for great-tasting fondues and the best kinds of dippers for each. Few things can top fondue as a fun and engaging meal for entertaining guests. Here’s how to prepare and serve them all — chocolate, cheese and broth fondues — along with a few modern twists for the more adventurous.
The easiest (and sweetest) in the fondue family. Once your chocolate has melted it should stay soft and dippable for about an hour without needing added heat.
What you need: Chop up about six ounces of semisweet chocolate and four ounces of milk chocolate (you can use the same quantity of chocolate chips). Place in a heat-proof bowl. Bring just under a cup of whipping cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour over chocolate, stirring until completely melted. Serve with fruit, cookies, mini cakes and lots of banana slices for dipping.
Fon-dos: A dash of orange, coffee or cherry liqueurs bring out even more flavour in your melted chocolate. For a little twist, make it sweet and salty. Salty dippers like plain potato chips, pretzels, smoked Gouda or crispy bacon slices will take this sweet treat to next-level delicious!
Fon-don’ts: As chocolate can scorch easily, keep heat levels at a minimum. If the chocolate cools down and hardens, increase the heat a bit or microwave the bowl for about 15 seconds to loosen it up.
Keep the party going for hours with this classic Alpine treat.
What you need: About a pound of cheese is used in the fondue, which can be any combination you like: Gruyère, Swiss, Oka, cheddar, or even a little blue cheese can be tossed in. For a traditional fondue, rub the insides of the pot with garlic and add one cup of dry white wine, and two tablespoons of corn starch. Add one tablespoon of kirsch (cherry brandy), or any other liquid flavouring you prefer, such as lemon juice, for extra depth of flavour. Some recipes even call for cream or cider, but however you like to make it, always have some extra liquid of your choice nearby to loosen the mixture if it gets too dense. You can also throw in a pinch of spice such as nutmeg or dry mustard for extra kick.
Fon-dos: Serve with lots of artisan bread along with boiled mini potatoes, steamed veggies such as broccoli florets and green beans, pickled pearl onions and fruits like apples and pears. More daring palates will enjoy dipping sweet-spicy piquillo peppers or roasted jalapenos in the cheese. Stir the pot continuously in a figure-eight motion to keep the mixture runny and well blended.
Fon-don’ts: Avoid a bubbling pot that can ruin the batch and burn your mouth by using a fondue pot that keeps a low, even temperature. Also advise guests dipping spicy peppers to do so quickly – you don’t want the pepper’s heat to transfer to the cheese, especially if some guests are not fans of spicy food or if there are children sharing the feast.
Savoury broth fondue
Also known as a hot pot, thin slices of meat are cooked in a bubbly broth that becomes a sensational soup flavoured by dippers cooked gently in it.
What you need: Thinly sliced beef and chicken, beef broth and veggies such as shiitake mushrooms, carrots, onions and Napa cabbage. Take this meal over the top with dipping sauces – we like aioli, herbed mayo, ginger-soy sauce, curried yogourt and honey-mustard sauce. Safety for yourself and your guests is key. Have the table set and ensure guests are seated before you transport the broth base to the table. Make sure the fondue forks are an appropriate length so guests don’t experience any discomfort from the heat of the pot while cooking their ingredients.
Fon-dos: Wrapping the meat in plastic and freezing for a few hours will make it easier to carve into thin slices. Give store-bought broth a boost with some roasted garlic, bay leaves or a dash of citrus. Heat lovers will welcome a spike of chilli flakes or hot sauce to spice up the broth. Make the meal extra special with lobster tails to dip until they’re poached to perfection. Noodles can be cooked in the broth at the end for a flavourful soup.
Fon-don’ts: Don’t undercook the meats. It’s important to maintain the broth at a steady temperature of 350°C (190°F). Let diners know the appropriate cooking times. Chicken needs a minimum of two minutes, or has to reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). For beef, the recommended time is 45-seconds for medium [71°C (160°F)] and a minute for well done [77°C (170°F)]. For lobster tails, one minute of cooking time is required per ounce of meat (approximately five to 12 minutes per whole tail).