Fondue pots originated in either Switzerland or France, where thrifty cooks kept containers of leftover melted cheese warm over a candle. Hungry diners would dip in chunks of otherwise too-dry bread for a tasty and hearty meal. In the 1960s, fondue pots became quite a hit in the United States. Besides cheese, you can melt chocolate and dip pieces of cake and fruit, or you can opt to heat oil in the pot to cook meat. No matter which approach you use, fondue is an entertaining and enjoyable way to share food with family and friends.
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This brushed stainless steel fondue pot has an adjustable electric heat element with eight temperature settings. You can gently melt chocolate for a dessert fondue or crank up the heat to cook meat in oil or broth. The pot’s non-stick surface requires little cleaning after the meal, and it can also go into the dishwasher. This Cuisinart model holds 3 quarts, and it comes with eight fondue forks – two more than many other brands include. The forks are color-coded to make it easy for each diner to keep track of which is theirs. You also get a notched fork ring that sits along the pot’s rim and keeps forks from slipping into the pot.
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If you’re planning a whimsical, small meal for two, the Kovot Personal Fondue Mugs are a fun option. These black ceramic mugs each hold 6 ounces of liquid, and you heat them by inserting a tea or votive candle into a small cave-like section on the bottom. You can melt cheese or chocolate in the mugs, but it doesn’t always work well. Some consumers got better results by warming the mugs first. Another difficulty is the candle can peter out if there isn’t enough airflow in the room. That said, you and your companion can enjoy the same fondue at once, or you can make a cheese fondue in one mug and a chocolate one in the other.
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The 6-cup, stainless steel Nostalgia Electric Fondue Pot is a two-story structure with the electric heating element in the base and the fondue pot on top. It can hold 3 pounds of any chocolate, cheese or sauce fondue mixture you choose. You can adjust the heat to suit whatever you're creating using the temperature control dial, which features a blue-light display. In addition, the pot has cool-touch handles – a nice safety feature. This Nostalgia model comes with six color-coded, two-pronged forks as well as a metal fork ring you place on top of the pot to secure them in place and keep their handles clean.
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Hints from Recipetips.com
1. When preparing food for dipping, keep all foods bite sized in cubes, slices, or wedges.
2. Use day old bread for fondue as fresh bread tends to crumble easily. The same holds true for fresh cake.
3. Chill fruits before dipping, it will help the fondue to stick.
4. Meat and seafood must be precooked if dipping in fondue that is not hot enough to cook safely (i.e. cheese fondue).
5. Precook vegetables if dipping in a cheese fondue.
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This Oster model holds 3 quarts of fondue and includes some less-common safety features. For example, it is made of a natural titanium-infused ceramic coating that is free of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), a chemical used in making non-stick surfaces, and PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), which is Teflon. Although no U.S. agency has stated these substances are toxic, some people prefer to avoid them. The manufacturer says the lining lasts eight times longer than other surfaces, and it won't peel or flake off. Another safety feature is a magnetic electrical cord that detaches if someone pulls on it or trips over it, which keeps the pot from tipping over and spilling its hot contents. This fondue pot cooks quickly, has an adjustable temperature control, and comes with eight fondue forks and a fork holder ring.
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This easy-to-use fondue pot holds just over 2 quarts, and its non-stick, Teflon surface makes cleanup easy too. You control the fondue pot's heat level with an adjustable temperature knob on the base, and an LED indicator lets you know if the pot is on or off. This NutriChef model comes with six color-coded fondue forks and a fork ring you place on top of the pot to keep them from sliding in. One of this fondue pot’s drawback is its electrical cord is rather short, which could make it awkward to use depending on where you heat your fondue at a party. However, you can lift the pot off its heating base using its cool-to-touch handles and place it directly on a kitchen countertop or table – the warm pot won’t harm these surfaces.
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It isn’t a traditional fondue pot, but the Nostalgia Fountain can be quite a hit at a get-together. You simply pour melted chocolate into the bottom, and the auger-style motor moves the liquid up the machine so it can cascade down the four-tier fountain. You can also fill the fountain with foods like BBQ sauce, cheese sauce or liqueurs to use with different appetizers. This tower is 18 inches high and holds 2 pounds of melted liquid. The base is make of stainless steel, while the fountain’s tiers are made of BPA-free plastic. This Nostalgia fountain has separate heat and motor controls, though both only have two settings: on and off. The machine’s only drawback is it’s a bit noisy, but then, who cares when you’re eating chocolate with friends?
Image Credit: Nostalgia