Dinner forks – Can be used for dipping food into a fondue, but they will get dangerously hot when left in the fondue.
Chopsticks or small wooden tongs – They are the authentic equipment for cooking sukiyaki and tempura.
Small wire baskets – Can be used to fish out food that has been deep-fried or cooked in stock.
The classic cheese fondues use mild-flavored cheeses from Switzerland, such as Emmenthal, Gruyere, and Appenzeller, which have an elastic texture when melted. They need to be cooked with acidic wines, liqueurs, or lemon juice to help produce a smooth fondue. Other suitable cheeses include Beaufort, mozzarella, Edam, Fontina, and Cheddar; try them for their subtle differences of taste and texture.
For the lighter, less alcoholic soft-cheese fondues, choose strong to mild-flavored goat’s cheeses or very mild but tangy soft cheeses such as herb or pepper-flavoured cream cheese, ricotta, or mascarpone. The strong tastes of blue cheeses are also excellent, from the creamy Dolcelatte, Bleu d’Auvergne, and Gorgonzola to the more pungent and crumblier Stilton. These cheeses are melted in milk instead of alcohol or lemon juice.
For the hard cheeses fondue- Use a dry and acidic wine. A good choice is Swiss Chasselas or any full-flavored, dry white wine. For a fruity flavour, try cider, or, if you are using a good, mature, British hard cheese, a real-ale beer makes a full-flavoured fondue
For a smooth cheese fondue- Kirsch is suitable for this kind of cheese.
For a chocolate fondue- Use the orange flavour of Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or use coffee Kahlua or almond-flavoured Disaronno Amaretto.
For the fruits- The fruit liqueurs will transform fruit-puree fondues, adding a rich flavour.
Light-coloured and mild-flavoured oils, which can be heated to high temperatures without smoking, are best for oil fondues. Choose from vegetable, corn, sunflower, groundnut(peanut), or soya oils. Olive, sesame, and nut oils are too strongly flavoured to be suitable and are inclined to burn at high temperatures. If you enjoy the flavour of these oils, add one or two spoonfuls to one of the milder oils.
The good quality of the chocolate is dark chocolates, with a high proportion of cocoa solids is best for fondues, for a sweeter and milder fondue use good quality milk or white chocolate.
Bread, crisps, and crackers
Choose bread with different textures: French sticks, bagels, sourdough and soda breads, seeded breads, such as Spanish Gallego or poppy-seed-crusted breads, and nut breads. Potato chips and crackers also make simple dippers for cheese fondues, for sweet fondues, cubes or slices of sweetbreads such as croissants and brioche make good dippers.
Some fruits, such as grapes and apples, are suitable for dipping into savoury as well as sweet fondues. Take advantage of fruits in season for sweet fondues: strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines are all suitable, as well as exotic fruits such as figs, pineapple, papaya, mangoes, star fruit, and lychees.
Cakes, biscuits, and cookies
Slices of dense-textured cake and sweet biscuits or cookies make excellent dippers for sweet fondues. Madeira cake, meringues, biscotti, Danish pastries, or chocolate-chip cookies are also suitable.
Fresh, raw vegetable dippers, prepared as crudités, add a light crunch to cheese fondue. Choose from pink radishes, baby carrots, baby corn, sugar snap peas or mangetouts(snow peas), red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, young celery, chicory(Belgian endive), cucumber, and fennel.
Gruyere cheese, a variety of Swiss cheese with small holes, has a firm, smooth texture and a relatively strong flavor.
- Cheese fondues
To add flavour, rub the inside of the fondue pot with the cut side of a garlic clove. Grate or crumble cheese to help it melt quickly, and heat it gently as it burns easily. The finished fondue should have a smooth and creamy consistency. If this is not the case, add a squeeze of lemon juice to help it bind together.
- Stock fondues
Use a well-flavoured vegetable or chicken stock, and don’t over-fill the pan. It should be no more than two-thirds full. Add noodles or pasta to the stock, if you like, then serve as a soup once the food dippers have all been cooked.
- Oil fondues
Use a cook’s thermometer to check the oil temperature. It should be 190C/375F. Once the oil has been transferred to the pot, adjust the burner to its highest setting. Don’t cook too much food at one time as this will cool the oil and may cause it to froth up and overflow.
- Sweet fondues
Custards, fruit purees, and chocolate sauces can be cooked ahead of time and chilled until ready to reheat and serve. Cook custards gently as they may curdle and become grainy if overheated. When melting chocolate, don’t allow the bowl to get too hot, or the chocolate may overheat and seize. Add liquids such as cream, coffee, or liqueur before melting, and don’t stir until the chocolate has melted completely.