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How to Prepare Fondue (with or without a Fondue Set)

Feb 19th, 2014

With origins in the Alps, fondue has been a mountain favorite in Switzerland, France, and Italy for centuries. Although it wasn’t popularized in the United States until the 1960s, this melted cheese dish has remained a hit ever since its arrival. But to many consumers, fondue is a luxury dining experience that is out of reach for all except the most special occasions. If you feel this way but wish you could experience this joy-inducing meal more often, it’s time for you to learn how to prepare fondue in the comfort of your home. In this brief guide, we will show you how you can enjoy this melted cheese delight in your apartment, with or without a fondue cooker.

Cheese Fondue with a Set

If you already know you love fondue, then it may be worth investing in a designated fondue pot. It is not absolutely essential, but it can make preparation easier and adds to the novelty of the dining experience. If you have the right pot, simply mix some Gruyere cheese with Jarlsberg or Emmenthaler, add white wine, garlic, and any other spices or liqueurs you wish to throw into the mix. Be careful not to let the cheese heat past its melting point, and enjoy!

Cheese Fondue without a Set

Obviously, having a fondue pot is optimal for the preparation of, well, a fondue dinner. But if you don’t have one and you would rather not buy one, you can still melt, mix, and enjoy fondue fairly easily with a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Double boilers are excellent because they allow you to heat the cheese with boiling water rather than directly over the flame. To keep the cheese warm and melted after it has been served, you’ll need a heating candle or electric burner for the table.


Traditional fondue is actually a vegetarian dish, but meat lovers need not despair. Although not technically fondue, it has become quite popular to serve a communal pot of hot oil in which small cuts of meat may be dipped and enjoyed alongside a Gruyere-Swiss cheese mix. Without a fondue set, a good electric burner is necessary as the oil must stay warm enough to cook the meat slices, bourguignonne style.

Chocolate Fondue

Whereas the bourguignonne cooking oil should be kept warmer than cheese fondue, chocolate fondue (also not technically fondue) requires less heat. After heating cream and chocolate on the stove until they are ready to be used for dipping, transfer the chocolate mixture to a designated warming pot or heat-resistant bowl. One candle should be all that is required to keep the chocolate warm and smooth throughout dessert. Chocolate fondue is versatile, compatible with an array of fruits, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chiffon cake.

Fondue pot or not, few meals are more satisfying on a cold winter evening than this Alpine delicacy. Select a date, tell a couple of your close friends to keep it open, and pick up the fixings and dippers you need for a pleasant evening of fondue al formaggio in your apartment. Before you know it, Live Life + Love Life will have taken on an entirely new meaning.

 Which do you prefer: Chocolate or cheese fondue?

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