Did you know that February is National Fondue Month? We're not sure why, but we sure are happy to celebrate it with a molten pot of cheese and some long forks! Back in December we taught a fondue class that was so much fun. If you put your fondue pot back in the closet after the holidays to gather dust for a year, here's your reason to pull it out and have a fondue party. With the chill in the air it's the perfect time!
Fondue can also be a romantic dinner for Valentine's Day, with little prep and quick cooking times. And with Valentine's falling on a Thursday this year (it's on the 14th, for those who may need a reminder...) it's a great after work meal that you can throw together. Because really, who wants to go out for sub-par service, high prices and quick table turns on a night that you're supposed to be spending with your loved one! Cook up some fondue and stay in for the night.
But there are a few things to remember. Not all fondue pots are created equal. If you're planning on using oil or broth and serving meats, make sure to purchase a metal or electric fondue pot. You'll need higher heat to get the oil and broth to the right temperatures and therefore need a metal pot. The electric ones are also great because you can set the temperature and it will hold it for you, no worries about the heat dropping. My personal favorite? The Cuisinart Electric Fondue Pot. (Again, no compensation has been provided for my recommendations. Just a little insider knowledge from someone who wants you to have the very best quality products at the best prices!)
Now if we're talking cheese and chocolate, that's a whole different story. If you are using a non-electric pot you'll want a ceramic or cast iron base. These items need lower heat so that they don't do that whole "breaking" thing that we're always talking about. If you use an electric pot, they usually have a lower heat setting that can also handle chocolate or cheese.
So, now you have the right fondue pot. Let's get cooking. But, first...Know Your:
Fondues & Don'ts!
Serve yourself to fondue like a pro! Did you know that there is an etiquette to eating this shared dish? Learn how to eat fondue with Swiss precision. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. While there are usually a bounty of items, it is traditional to start off with the bread. AND it makes a great foundation if you’re enjoying wine with your fondue.
2. Don’t eat off of your fondue fork. Use it to dip, then slide the food off onto your plate and eat it with your assigned table utensils. No one likes a double-dipper!
3. Use the fondue fork or dipping utensil. Don’t dunk right into the fondue – no one wants that!
4. Twirl, Twirl, Twirl! Once you pull your item out of the fondue pot, rotate your fork to remove drips and stringing cheese. It will help keep the table tidy. And more cheese in the fondue pot.
5. Keep the top of your fondue from getting a skin by making a figure eight when you dip. That way it’ll stay looking nice and fresh. It’s also considered bad etiquette to swirl counter-clockwise. Think “Swiss clock” to avoid this un-couth swirl.
6. Don’t be shy – scrape that burnt cheese off the bottom of the pot! Called "la religieuse," the shards of crisped cheese have a toasty crunch and are considered a delicacy.
7. Don't drink anything but these 3 beverages: Sip only white wine, kirsch, or a tisane of herbal tea with your fondue meal. According to Swiss lore, any other drink—be it water, juice, or beer—will cause the melted cheese to coagulate and form a giant ball in your stomach, leaving you with debilitating indigestion. Yes, it sounds silly, but do you really want to risk it?
8. Don't follow cheese fondue with chocolate fondue: A meal of Switzerland's two most famous food exports seems like an obvious progression, but the two together might send you directly into a cholesterol coma. Instead, end your meal with fresh pineapple: The fruit's acidity is a bright counterpoint to the creamy cheese, while its enzymes help you digest more quickly.
And finally…THE PLEDGE!
Did you commit the most sacrilegious of all fondue faux pas and drop something in the pot? Tradition says that if a lady loses her dipper she must kiss all the men at the table. Men – did you drop something? Now you have to buy the table a bottle of wine!
Updated fondue lore now says that the dropper must now do something determined by the table – chicken dance, sing a little ditty, give your partner a kiss, it’s up to the table!
So give those avocado green and shag orange fondue pots a dust off, they've been neglected long enough! Fondue is back!!