Cheese Fondue and dippers. L to R: Meatballs, fried cooked salami cubes, steamed asparagus tips, grape tomatoes, bread cubes and pretzel sticks. Provide extra small skewers (left) and plates in addition to the longer skewers that come with your set. The longer skewers aren't meant for eating from, they're simply made for dipping foods that are then set on plates.
I even found my own set at a local yard sale a few years ago. It sat in the box until I stopped at Pier 1 the other day and found a brand new contemporary fondue set on sale. It was too cute to pass up and I started thinking about dual fondues for dinner one night.
Tonight was that night and the kids thoroughly loved it. Fondue is so easy to make if you take your time and do it right. The list of 'dippers' is endless for both cheese and chocolate and it's easy enough to do for a party or just a weeknight dinner at home. It's especially good with lots of kids because there's usually something for everyone.
Fondue is derived from the French word "fondre" meaning, to melt. Simple as that. Bread as a dipper was the traditional, though almost anything you like dipped in cheese or chocolate will work these days.
Chocolate fondue and dippers. L to R: marshmallows, coconut cookies, strawberries and carrot pound cake.
Here are two very basic recipes for cheese fondue and chocolate fondue.
Classic Cheese Fondue
1 pound of cheese, shredded - typical is Gruyere and Swiss, but almost any will do
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Spices if desired
1. In a small bowl, toss the cheeses well with cornstarch and set aside. The cornstarch helps to ensure a smooth fondue.
2. Cut the garlic in half and rub the inside of the fondue pot with the cut side and set pot aside until fondue is ready.
3. Over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the wine and bring to a simmer. Very slowly and about 1/2 cup at a time, stir the cheese into the wine. Once each addition has melted add in more and stir and melt until all the cheese is incorporated and the fondue is smooth.
4. Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm over a low flame.
5. Serve with assorted dippers and reheat gently if necessary to keep fluid and smooth.
6. Add spices such as a pinch of cayenne pepper or freshly grated nutmeg at the end of cooking and stir well.
Classic Chocolate Fondue
1 pound bittersweet chocolate - grated or cut in small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 Tablespoons flavored liqueur, if desired
1/2 teaspoon grated cinnamon, if desired
1. In a small double boiler, heat chocolate and cream, stirring frequently, until chocolate is smooth.
2. Add liqueur and cinnamon if using and stir well.
3. Keep warm in a fondue pot with a flame beneath. Stir often to keep from burning and make sure chocolate is still fluid.
4. Serve with dippers.
*Note: The post title is a reference any "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan will appreciate.