I had fondue for the first time in my life last weekend (oil in one pot and cheese in another) and I loved it! I’d like to ask for a cheese fondue pot from family for Christmas and will probably buy a more expensive pot for oil on my own later (I want 2 pots so I can do both together). I have a couple questions that haven’t been answered by searching this board (or anywhere else):
Do I really need an unglazed caquelon pot for cheese? First of all, I can’t find this type anywhere (US)- mostly what I find are glazed cast iron, glazed ceramic, nonstick, and SS. Should I consider one of these other types if I want to also do chocolate (obviously unglazed would be meant to absorb cheese flavor and couldn’t be used for chocolate!)
Do I need a pot with a fuel burner for cheese, or would heat from a candle keep cheese hot?
I see some inexpensive $20-$30 cheese and chocolate fondue pots on Target.com/Amazon.com, some are ceramic with candle, some are cast iron with burner, and wonder if one of these might be just fine for cheese.
And I presume a cast iron with burner and splatter shield works well for oil/broth.
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not a fondue expert. I did buy a fondue pot a month or so ago when I decided to take a cheese fondue to work. (It was a Saints and Sinners Food Day for Hallowe’en and All Saints Day. Yep, we like to do themed potlucks.)
Anyway, I bought a fondue pot that was metal with a non-stick lining. The heat was from a fuel burner, and I bought a couple of the ‘jelled’ fuel packs that can be dropped into the burner, rather than having to deal with liquid fuel. For the purposes of cheese fonduing for a non-gourmet audience it worked just fine. It also only cost me $10 when I picked it up for half price.
In my shopping experience, the fondue pots that use candles are significantly smaller, and are designed for “dessert” fondues. I’m not sure whether you would find one large enough for a “dinner” fondue, and if you did, whether it would adequately heat the cheese.
I’m actually contemplating buying a dessert fondue pot as well. I’m planning for a fondue Christmas Eve this year.
We have a Rival electric fondue pot (similar to this one), and we’re very happy with it. We just used it with my parents over the Thanksgiving weekend, as a matter of fact. We have a completely separate, ceramic set for chocolate fondue (this one, as a matter of fact), but we’ve only used it once, so I can’t really vouch for it.
I can also recommend that you give broth fondues a shot, too. They’re a bit healthier than oil fondues, and you can freeze the leftover broth, which is now nicely flavored, and use it as stock for soups, or, as this article suggests, serve it as part of the meal!
Oh, I’ll also recommend the fondue plates we have. They’re perfect because each person can have their own dipping sauces without having to pass around a “community” dish, and the plate itself is large enough that you can serve sides, such as rice and veggies, and it acts as an actual dinner plate.
Ok, sorry, one more post. Just wanted to share somepics of us using our fondue set and accessories. The only thing I do differently now is that I use those little oval plates for the raw meats. Each person gets two of them placed right above the larger plate; one with steak and the other with shrimp for a surf and turf dinner, or steak and chicken, etc. It seems a little safer and more sanitary than passing dishes of raw meats around the table. Sides and other dipping items, however, are in serving bowls or platters and passed around.
Don’t know about the different terminology for broth fondue vs “Chinese Hot Pot”, I just know that this Fondue recipe book has some wonderful recipes in it, including a substantial section on broth fondues. Again, highly recommended.
Oh those are also very cool! I’d have a hard time choosing between the two, had I found them both at the same time. It looks like these are very close to the ones you found, and are slightly cheaper. It’s not a very clear image, though. And the original from the source isn’t much better.
I’m with Shayna, we have a similar electric fondue pot and love it. We’ve also been known to take the easy way out and get the pre-made cheese (red box, inside is a foil packet) in the cheese section of the grocery store.