Which fondue set is best?
Created in the 1800s to use up stale bread and cheese almost past its prime, fondue experienced a resurrection in the 1960s and 1970s before melting into the background again. But with the expanding interest in interactive food experiences, fondue is set to make a comeback.
The Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker is easy to operate and great for all types of fondue. It’s excellent for larger gatherings too.
What to know before you buy a fondue set
A fondue set melts cheese or chocolate or heats oil or broth, so it requires a consistent source of heat. Traditional fondue pots use the heat of candles or alcohol-based fuel. These make the pot more portable for both indoor and outdoor use, but the heat can be uneven and slow. If you use candles, you’ll need plenty of them, and they won’t get the liquid hot enough to cook meat or seafood.
Using liquid or gel fuels is recommended to properly cook food in hot oil or broth. These fuels get hotter and are safer for meat preparation.
Modern electric fondue pots are simple to plug in and provide quick, consistent heat for all types of food, but you’ll always be tethered to an outlet.
The first fondue pots were ceramic or stoneware heated over open fires. Both materials are heat tolerant and durable, and ceramic is a great choice for chocolate fondue in particular.
If you primarily cook meat, you’ll need a pot of stainless steel, cast iron, copper or another type of metal. They’re more suited to the high temperatures necessary to safely cook meat.
Consider how many people you’re cooking for when selecting the best fondue set for you. If you routinely serve a large household, look for a 3-quart capacity or more. Dining a deux? You will only need a 1- to 2-cup capacity.
What to look for in a quality fondue set
Fondue forks are designed to skewer bread, fruit, cheese, meat or other food while keeping hands safely away from the molten liquid in the pot. The handles should be comfortable and easy to hold, and there should be enough forks to match the bowl’s capacity.
Electric fondue sets should have easy-to-set and easy-to-read temperature controls. Because chocolate and cheese do not require as much heat as broth and oil, adjustments are useful to prevent dessert or classic cheese fondue from burning.
Creating a delicious dessert or cheese fondue is both an art and a science. Look for a set that includes recipes tested for the bowl you have purchased.
How to use a fondue set
Here are a few tips for best results.
- Begin at the end: Prep all foods you will dip in your fondue before you start. Cut up bread, meat, fruit, cake and vegetables.
- Stock up on utensils: Make sure you have extra forks for unexpected guests. Consider buying extras if you want fondue for both dinner and dessert.
- Melt well: For cheese fondue, grate the cheese for even melting. For both chocolate and cheese, a little added oil prevents burning.
- Watch the temp: Some electric fondue sets run hot. Keep an eye on the temperature in the pot, and adjust as needed.
How much you can expect to spend on a fondue set
For an interactive food experience that doubles as sustenance and entertainment, fondue sets are remarkably affordable. Expect to spend $40-$100 on a good-quality set.
Fondue set FAQ
Is there etiquette surrounding fondue?
A. Yes. Whether enjoying it at home or heading out to a restaurant, fondue comes with its own set of rules.
- For savory fondue, start your dipping with bread.
- Do not scoop cheese directly out of the pot.
- Do not use your hands to dip (it’s dangerous and poor form).
- Do not double dip.
- Use the fondue fork to dip, then bring the food to your plate. Eat food from the plate only — not from the fork.
- To reduce drips, dip your food, then rotate it over the pot until whatever you’ve dipped stops dripping.
- Dip and swirl in a figure-eight pattern to keep your cheese or chocolate fondue from forming a crust.
- Take turns.
How long should you cook meat in a fondue pot?
A. Cooking times vary depending on the type of meat you are cooking.
- Beef: Beef should be cooked from 20 seconds for medium rare to 45 seconds for well done.
- Pork: Cook for one minute.
- Poultry: Make sure to cook for at least two minutes.
Thinly sliced meat will cook faster than thick chunks.
What’s the best fondue set to buy?
Top fondue set
What you need to know: From cheese to chocolate, this maker is safe for every type of fondue.
What you’ll love: Electric heating easily melts cheese and chocolate and keeps oil and broth at safe temperatures. The bowl is stainless steel with a nonstick interior that cleans easily. It holds 3 quarts and serves eight people.
What you should consider: At just 1 foot, the cord is very short. Some users also report that this maker runs hot.
Top fondue set for the money
What you need to know: For an intimate gathering, this simple fondue pot uses three tea light candles as a heat source.
What you’ll love: It uses the candles underneath a dishwasher-safe pot on a stainless steel stand. The design is sleek. It comes with four fondue forks.
What you should consider: Don’t use this when you’re hungry. The candles take a long time to melt the cheese.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a traditionally styled choice that features a heavy enameled cast-iron pot.
What you’ll love: It holds 5 cups of all kinds of fondue. The heat source is gas gel or alcohol. It comes with a lid and six forks. It’s available in two colors.
What you should consider: The fuel is not included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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