Fondue 101

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Fondue generally comes in 3 versions: Cheese, Bourguignonne and Chinese. In the case of Bourguignonne fondue, foods are cooked in hot oil while Chinese fondue uses broth.

To organize a proper fondue, you will need:

  • A fondue pot with burner (made from enamelled cast iron for cheese fondue or stainless for the others). Plan 1 fondue pot for every 4 to 6 guests.
  • Fondue fuel for the burner (follow manufacturer instructions as to the type of fuel and directions).
  • 2 to 3 fondue forks per guest. Favour forks in various colours so that guests can easily identify their individual forks.
  • 1 place setting for each guest (including table fork, knife and spoon) to avoid eating directly from the fondue forks.
  • Several large serving dishes or platters to arrange and place ingredients on the table.
  • One plate per guest, if possible with convenient sections for dips and sauces.

 

Choice Ingredients

For a successful fondue party, you want to serve a nice variety of ingredients that make up a full meal, i.e. proteins, vegetables and even starchy foods.

  • Plan around 200 g (7 oz) of meat per person: in cubes for Bourguignonne fondue, and thinly sliced or even stuffed with cheese for a Chinese hot pot.
  • Beyond popular beef and chicken, did you know some supermarkets now offer such fondue meats as camel, kangaroo, rabbit and ostrich?
  • To speed up cooking, you may want to blanch harder vegetables like broccoli and potatoes by cooking them in salted boiling water for a few minutes.
  • Finally serve 2 to 3 Canton fondue sauces for dipping fun.

 

Ultimate Fondue Mix&Matchshutterstock_170383787

Red meat, whole shrimp, tofu, fish, baby potatoes, broccoli, mushroom, bok choy, carrots, cherry tomatoes, snowpeas, peppers

 

Dos&Don’ts

While fondue is friendly by nature, a few basic rules still need to be respected:

  • You have a cold? Better decline that fondue invitation since foods and utensils are shared by all.
  • Bye bye bacteria! Much like dips and crudités, double dipping — i.e. dipping already nibbled food back into a communal dish — is a total no-no.
  • Avoid “borrowing” another guest’s fondue fork already cooking away in the pot (say hi to colour-coded forks!).
  • Gently twirl cooked foods above the fondue pot to shake off excess broth that would stain the tablecloth on the way to the plate.
  • Don’t eat cooked food from the fondue fork. Glide them onto your plate and use ordinary tableware.
  • Don’t blow on your fondue fork to cool foods or you may splash everyone around.

And, of course, never use your hands to dip foods in the fondue pot!

 

A Fun Tradition

You’ve dropped your food in the pot? Tradition has it that, should the culprit be a woman, she must kiss the first man on her right. If it’s a man, he must offer his host a bottle of wine. You’ve dropped a second food tidbit? The next fondue party is on you!

Double dip