Selecting a fondue pot

rival-fondue-set

A wise man once said, “Everything old is new again.”  In the world of fondue, this is quite apropos.  The melted cuisine enjoyed huge popularity in the 1970s, a time when a fondue set was not simply a last resort gift; however, all good things must come to an end, and the excitement declined for two decades.  Well, the new millennium has arrived, and fondue has made a comeback.  Pots are showing up on wedding registries once more and people smile with genuine excitement when they unwrap a gift and discover a fondue set inside. 

When selecting a fondue pot, first decide on the type of fondue for which it will be used.  One kind is pot is used in serving cheese and dessert fondue, while another is used for fried fondue.

Cheese fondue pots are often made from ceramic, earthenware, or enameled cast-iron.  These materials diffuse, or give off, heat well.  This is especially important when serving chocolate fondue, as it will scorch if the temperature is too high.  Ceramic and earthenware pots should not be placed on a heating element on the stove, because they will crack.  This makes the cast-iron pot appealing, because these models do not present a problem when placed on the stovetop.  Preparation can therefore be made in the fondue pot itself, eliminating the sometimes tricky transfer from saucepan to serving pot.
 
Hot oil fondue should be served in a metal pot.  Many of them are manufactured from stainless steel, cast-iron, or lined copper.  These materials can withstand the much stronger heat sources needed to keep the oil contained inside hot enough to fry.   Additionally, these metals also absorb and retain heat rather than diffuse it like the ceramic or earthenware models. 
 
Some sets come with both a ceramic and metal pot.  The setup allows water to simmer in the metal pot with the ceramic pot placed inside it.  This is ideal for fragile fondues that burn easily, such as those made from chocolate and goat cheese. 
 
Most pots are designed to avoid tipping easily but should still be placed on a sturdy stand.  There is nothing wrong with a little extra precaution to avoid a mess or even injury. 
 
Fondue pots also come with burner units.  The main heat sources are alcohol, fuel paste (also known as gel), candles, and with the fancier models, electricity. 
 
Cheese and oil fondues are often heated by alcohol or paste burners.  Be careful never to add fuel to the heat source when it is already lit.  Also be sure to keep the cover close by in case the flame needs to be extinguished quickly. 
 
Votive candles are often utilized for the serving of chocolate fondues.  The small size of the candle’s flame will keep the chocolate nice and warm without scorching and ruining it. 
 
Although they are sometimes a little pricier, electric pots are nice because they have adjustable heat settings, allowing for a wider variety of fondues to be served in the same type of pot.  Many electric versions also have nonstick surfaces, making cleaning much easier.
 
Fondue pots can be purchased everywhere from department stores, specialty stores, catalogs, and any number of websites.  Like the foods used in savoring fondue, they are often relatively inexpensive.  A simple earthenware set can be purchased in the $12.00 to $15.00 realm.  If you are feeling frisky though, you can jump to 24-piece stainless steel models in the $450.00 area.  There is sure to be a fondue pot and set at every price point in between. 
 
Pots can also be found in almost any color you could want, from basic red to chartreuse. 

It all comes down to personal preference.  So find a model that is practically and aesthetically pleasing, and get ready to delight in an evening of fondue fun.

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