Cheese is something almost everyone loves. What better way to eat it than to melt it in a fondue pot with some wine and garlic tucked in. This tasty dish is quick and easy to prepare and made for sharing.
Dating back to Switzerland in the 18th century, this delicious meal has now become popular worldwide. Traditionally, stale bread was dipped in melted cheese—also stale—to soften it and make it palatable. This was when fresh food was in short supply during cold winter months.
Modern-day fondues pose no such limitations and you can dip just about anything that your heart desires. This short video shows you how to make a cheese fondue:
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular items for dipping in that gooey, oozy cheese.
Bread remains one of the most popular dippers for cheese fondue. While a nice, crusty baguette is always a good option to consider, some of the other types you can get are just as good.
You could use rye, whole grain, sourdough, bagels, multigrain or pumpernickel. Don’t rule out sweet bread either. Loaves with nuts, such as walnuts, pair beautifully with cheese. Fruits, like cranberries and raisins, also work well in bread.
If you have a particular favorite but can’t find it at the bakery or grocery store, you could always make your own. Homemade bread croutons are another staple option for dipping into your yummy cheese.
Remember, whichever bread you use, you should cut it into pieces—about 1-inch cubes. This way they are small enough to fit in the fondue pot and easy to pop in your mouth. Lightly toasting the bread first will stop it falling apart.
Crackers and Chips
Why not try using your favorite crackers or chips for dipping into your cheese. Such types as wheat crackers and tortilla chips are a perfect accompaniment. The crunch works really well with the melted fondue.
Meat and Seafood
You can turn your cheese fondue into an appetizing entree, by using meat as a dipper. Just remember that meats need to be fully cooked beforehand as the cheese alone won’t be hot enough to cook them.
Try meats such as poached chicken, grilled steak or cooked ham. They all pair well with melted cheese. Cut them up into small cubes for easy dipping. Mini-meatballs are also a good meat choice.
Cured meats, like pepperoni, salami, and chorizo, are a flavorful option for dippers. These tend to be a little more on the spicy side and will be tempered by the flavor of the cheese.
If you want to add some decadence to your fondue, add in steamed, succulent seafood. Lightly steamed lobster, crab or shrimp will all be sensational for a special occasion.
Veggies provide a colorful and healthy option for fondue dipping. While they are a staple, don’t just limit it to the usual crudites of carrot, celery, cherry tomatoes, and peppers. Change it up a bit.
Lightly steam some broccoli spears, cauliflower florets, radishes, green beans, and pearl onions. Try roasting some zucchini, Brussel sprouts, asparagus or carrots. Sautee a variety of mushrooms such as shitake, oyster, sliced portobello or cremini.
Artichoke hearts, when precooked, work beautifully. Potatoes are another vegetable that is perfect for dipping. Roast some baby Yukon Gold, red fingerling or purple potatoes.
Cut up and cook some potato wedges, thick-cut french fries or potato skins. You don’t want them breaking apart in the dip, so make sure they still have a little bite to them.
Pickled vegetables are a unique choice which will make a good accompaniment to your cheese fondue. Sweet gherkins and other pickles will dip well and taste even better when coated in cheese. Pat them dry first so they don’t transfer brine to the fondue pot.
In chocolate, maybe. But what about in cheese? This might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a cheese fondue. However, think how well fruit pairs with cheese when presented on a cheese platter.
Consider adding slices of crunchy red or green apples, juicy chunks of pear, seedless grapes or cubes of pineapple. Some dried fruits will also work well with cheese. Add a few dried figs or dried apricots to your plate of dippers.
This may be a bit out of left field but think mac and cheese. Pasta is so good with cheese. We aren’t talking spaghetti and linguine, but the firmer, smaller types of pasta.
Tortellini, rigatoni, and ravioli can be speared and dipped in your fondue. Smaller shapes like farfalle, fusilli or rotelle should also stay on your fondue fork. Cook your pasta until it’s nearly al dente and add it to your dipper selection.
Tips for Fondue Dipping
Whatever dippers you choose, make sure they will hold together in the warm, thick cheese sauce. Toasting bread will stop it falling apart. Chunks of potato work well, but potato chips will more than likely fall apart.
If you are using dippers which would normally be cooked, pre-cook them beforehand. While a steak can be rare or medium, make sure it has been rested. You don’t want it bleeding out in the fondue sauce. Chicken needs to be fully cooked first.
Fondue forks are designed with long handles to make sure your fingers stay clear of the piping hot sauce. They are also color-coded so each person gets his or her own.
It is, however, bad etiquette to eat from the fork, unless you’re only using it one time. Not only that, it’s unhygienic, as is double-dipping.
If you need extra forks, make sure the handles are long or—better still—consider using skewers. Also, as tempting as it might be, don’t dip your fingers in the fondue— again, it’s unhygienic, and you may get burnt.
As you can see, there is a wide selection of dippers you can adorn your table with for fondue. There are sure to be options that will appeal to even the fussiest of eaters.
All you are limited by is your imagination. So, gather your friends and family, prepare your cheese fondue and get dipping.