Last month was Fun With Fondue Month and we think there should be several months dedicated to this fun food fad! Different types of chocolate, cheese and oils are used with fondue (a melted or liquid form of food that you dip other, smaller pieces of food into). Fondue comes from the French word fondre, which means to melt. It is mainly seen as a party food or special dish for events that is often served with a variety of dipping foods.
- The earliest known type of fondue is cheese fondue, as the first documented recipe for it exists in a 1699 Swiss cookbook. The meal at the time was called “Käss mit Wein zu kochen,” translated into English as “to cook cheese with wine,” and was used to dip pieces of bread into. Cheese fondue became more popular in the 1700s in France, when the recipe also included pieces of scrambled eggs. In the late 19th century, a new Swiss recipe ditched the scrambled eggs and in 1905, when corn starch was added, it became the cheese fondue we all know and love today. Cheese fondue reached its popularity in Switzerland during WWII in the 1930s after a rationing campaign, which promoted using soon-to-be expired cheese and bread in unique ways. It eventually reached America in the 1960s after being premiered at the New York World Trade Fair. There are many different types of cheeses, and thus types of cheese fondues, but most recipes call for a mixture of cheeses. For a three-cheese fondue, make sure to do a third of each type, shredded. Shredding the cheese beforehand helps it melt quicker and avoids uneven melting/burning. Corn starch and white wine are essential for cheese fondue texture, and some recipes call for multiple types of wine to increase the richness in taste. Add the main ingredients with the correct measurements for the intended party to a pot and boil it until it is smooth and lump-free. Seasonings and spices can be added as wanted. Once everything is mixed, you can serve it with all types of sides such as vegetables, pieces of bread, meats and more!
- Chocolate fondue is one of the more popular types in America, as it’s said that it was invented here. According to some sources, chocolate fondue was first invented by a New York Swiss-style restaurant chef by the name of Konrad Elgi. In 1964, after cheese fondue was already popularized in America, Elgi experimented with different types of fondue variations. Eventually, used as a promotion for Toblerone Chocolate, he created a thick, melted chocolate with a similar style to cheese fondue. The recipe for chocolate fondue is different from cheese fondue, as in you don’t just swap out the two ingredients. To start, pick the type of chocolate you want, though it is often recommended to use semi-sweet chocolate chips (or you can buy special melting chocolate specifically made for fondue). Put the chocolate in a pot with equal parts milk and heavy cream and let it simmer. Vanilla is sometimes used in recipes to add extra richness, but to make a special flavor of fondue, you can buy flavored oils that are compatible with chocolate. Make sure to keep the pot simmering so the chocolate doesn’t harden and stir it often (or get a fondue fountain!). People often dip things like fruits, salty snacks & marshmallows into chocolate fondue, but don’t be afraid to dip vegetables such as carrots or even a slice of hard cheese such as provolone.
- Another way to enjoy fondue with friends is to have a simmering fondue pot of olive or vegetable oil ready for dipping. Safety measures must not be taken lightly!! Dip in bite-sized raw pieces of chicken, meat or fish until fully cooked, and then dip into cold condiments or dipping sauces you have ready nearby.
Celebrate any month by throwing a fondue party and showing off your skills and knowledge from what you’ve read here. Or simply make some alone and eat it all by yourself, we won’t judge.