Fondue etiquette and safety

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Fondue is fun, casual and unique. But because there is an open flame, hot oil or other hot liquid and several people sharing one cooking vessel, there are a number of rules of etiquette and safety that should be followed.

Use your fondue fork to spread bite-sized morsel of food, then dip and swirl it into the cheese. Hold it over the sauce, allowing any excess to drip back into the pot. This will allow the excess to drip back in the pot and also allow time for cooling. You can also bring your plate up under the bite to avoid dripping as well.

To eat meat fondue, spear a piece of meat and plunge it in the hot oil.  Allow it to sit until the meat is cooked to your liking.  Remove the fork and place it on your plate.  Use your dining fork to slide the meat off the fondue fork.  Then use your regular fork to dip the meat in the sauce as desired. Then eat using your regular dining fork.

Avoid Double Dipping which spreads germs. It is improper to put the whole fork into your mouth. We recommend using the fondue fork for dipping only, then using a table fork to pry the morsel onto your own plate for eating.

Never dip your food into the pot with your fingers. Aside from the germ factor, you will burn yourself.

Fondue traditions say that if a woman drops a piece of food into the pot, she has to kiss every man at the table. If a man drops a piece of food into the pot he has to provide the host with a bottle of wine. If the food is lost a second time, the first person to do so has to hosts the next fondue party!

Choosing a Location/Setting – you can choose from several possible locations to set up the fondue. Space required depends on the number of people. Generally, you should plan to have one fondue pot for every six people. This is especially important for oil fondues, since the temperature will drop below recommended levels if there is too much food in the pot at one time. Also, too many forks will get tangled and the food can get pulled off when the fork is being removed. In addition, the dipping sauces and go-withs (salads, vegetables and breads) need to be accessible to all or available to pass around easily and often. The typical choice for location is the dining room table, especially for a meat or cheese fondue. The coffee table makes a nice setting for a dessert fondue but also works well for a more appetizer-like cheese fondue. But on a warm summer evening, the patio table would be ideal for any of the fondues.

Safety Rules

•         Read the manufacturer instructions for your fondue set prior to using, especially information on fuel source and cleaning.

•         When using an electric fondue, ensure extension cord is taped down to the floor so no one will trip over it.

•         When using an oil fondue, keep a fire extinguisher, snuffer lid or box of baking soda handy just in case a flare-up occurs.

•         Place fondue pot on a heatproof trivet or small cutting board to protect table surface.

•         Control the flame by moving the handle to open or close vents. If all vents are closed, the flame will burn at its lowest.

•         Fill burner lamp up to level of wire lattice in a well-ventilated area away from any heat source. Wipe up any spilled fuel. Place lamp on stand and light with match at central opening.

•         Extinguish flame by closing vents and putting on snuffer lid. Ensure flame is extinguished before refilling lamp. Lamp should be empty when storing.

•         If children participate, an adult should supervise closely to ensure their safety. To treat minor burns to fingers from a hot fondue fork, run cold water over burned area, then leave affected area uncovered to quicken healing.

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