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Dip Into The Fun Of Fondue!

Contributed by: Faith Heinauer of

If you want an enjoyably easy and informal way to dine, host a fondue get together... it's a fun, casual and unique way to entertain!

Fondue comes from the French word, fonder, which means "melt". It refers to food being cooked at the table with it's own heat source.

Fondue tradition states that if you drop the food off of the fork, and into the pot, you have to kiss the person next to you. Start your own rules and traditions!

Classic Cheese Fondue

This is a hearty crowd-pleasing appetizer! Dip chunks of crusty French bread into this hot & savory classic Swiss fondue. Be sure to use good quality cheeses and wine.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine*
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch (a clear cherry brandy), or cognac
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) Emmental cheese*, coarsely grated
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • nutmeg

Melt the butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sugar; sauté until shallots are caramelized, about 8 - 10 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a dish.

Rub the inside of a heavy medium saucepan with the garlic. Discard the garlic.

Add the wine to the pot and bring just to a simmer over medium heat.

Stir in the kirsch. The wine mixture should barely simmer, but must be at a simmer for the cheese to melt properly. Bubbles should just break the surface.

Place the shredded Emmental cheese, Gruyère cheese and cornstarch in a sealable plastic bag. Shake to evenly coat the cheese with the cornstarch.

Add the shallots to the wine mixture.

Gradually add the cheese to the wine mixture. Add handfuls at a time, stirring until the cheese melts and is smooth before adding more. (Increase heat slightly if cheese is not melting, but make sure not to boil!).

Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg (a couple dashes of each). Taste and add additional seasonings.

Transfer the cheese mixture to a fondue pot.

* To make the fondue alcohol free: Replace the wine and kirsch with 3/4 cup chicken stock, and 3/4 cup milk.

Preparation time: 15 minutes - Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

*Emmental cheese (also referred to as Emmentaler, Emmenthaler) is a firm-textured nutty, sweet and mellow cheese that is made in Switzerland. Gruyère cheese is a firm, rich, sweet and nutty Swiss cheese.

Place any leftover fondue in scrambled eggs, or over steamed cauliflower.

Suggested Dips:

Boiled shrimp, cubed cooked chicken, steamed fingerling potatoes, blanched asparagus spears, grilled mushrooms, granny smith apples, pears, blanched broccoli

Fondue Bourgiugnonne

Small pieces of meat are fried at the table and then dipped into a quick-to-make creamy horseradish sauce.

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups vegetable oil*
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To make the sauce, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

In a fondue pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

Transfer the pot to a fondue burner with a high flame.

Have guests skewer the beef with a fondue fork, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Allow guests to cook the meat to their liking - 1 minute for rare, 2 minutes for medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes for well-done. Serve with the horseradish sauce.

* For a healthier version, replace the oil with a beef broth.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes - Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 - 6

Chocolate Fondue

A sweet and sublime way to end a meal!

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Sift the cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, and set aside.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and corn syrup for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the heavy cream. Pour the cocoa powder into the mixture and blend with a whisk until smooth. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate.

Pour into a fondue pot and keep warm.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes - Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Suggested Dips:

Pound cake, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, marshmallows, Oreo® cookies, chocolate chip cookies, angel food cake, graham cracker quarters spread with marshmallow crème or peanut butter

Fondue Party Tips:

** You will need a fondue pot (or several fondue pots). Fondue pots come with burner units fueled by electricity, sterno (alcohol) or fuel paste. Thick pottery-like pots, such as earthenware and ceramic, work best for delicate fondues like cheese and chocolate. Metal pots are best for fried fondues because they can withstand the high heat (earthenware may crack at higher temperatures). Electric fondue pots are best because of the adaptability and ease in changing and controlling the temperature.

** Have a fondue fork for each guest. You may want to individually mark each fondue fork for the guests to differentiate their forks. Purchase additional forks at food boutiques.

** You will need plates with separate compartments, or a lot of small plates. Make sure to have a lot of napkins for your guests.

** Cover the table with a washable tablecloth (fondue can be a little bit messy).

** Place the fondue pot in the center of a small, sturdy round table. You will need a table where it is easy for the guests to reach the fondue. Typically the table should accommodate four people per table. For larger parties, set up several tables with a fondue pot on each table.

** Strategically place an assortment of dipping ingredients around the table.

How To "Spear" The Fondue:

  • 1.) Spear the food with the fondue fork.
  • 2.) Dip the food into the pot and stir.
  • 3.) Lift and slowly twirl.
  • 4.) Move plate beneath the fork and eat.

Faith Heinauer is a caterer, cookbook author, columnist, and the creative force behind her website, sign up for her tasty bi-weekly newsletter!



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