Fondu, also popularly spelt as fondue is a kind of a creamy Swiss dipping sauce usually made by melting cheese. The dish is served as an accompaniment to bread or any other food which is dipped into it and eaten. The Swiss commonly prepare it as a communal dish in a large fondue pot gradually on a slow fire. Though cheese is most often the ingredient of choice for this flavorful dish, it is also made with other ingredients. A fondue recipe may include savory or sweet ingredients depending upon the kind of sauce desired. Popular fondue recipes include cheese fondue, beef fondue, cheese and seafood fondue, chocolate fondue, asparagus and bacon fondue, and caramel fondue.
History of Fondue Recipes
The Fondu was invented out of necessity, like so many other inventions of this world. The 18th century inhabitants of Switzerland prepared this dish in order to adapt themselves to the harsh winter conditions when procuring or preserving food resources was a problem. As cheese and bread stored during the summer months tend to become stiff, in order to make them edible and improve their qualities methods were devised. The cheese, hardened due to prolonged storage and severe cold, was melted and bread which had become equally stiff was dipped in it to soften it. As the native inhabitants were poor and also maintaining a lot of utensils was not convenient for them, the dish was prepared in a large pot called the fondue pot which served as a common container for dipping the bread. Thus the fondu was invented.
Fondue recipes with different ingredients were gradually created and in the present times, the dish with its large number of sweet and savory variations gained popularity in a number of European countries, North America and other western countries.
Preparation of Fondu
The preparation of fondu mainly involves stirring the sauce gradually at a temperature at which the contents of the fondue pot remains molten. Ingredients like cheese and chocolate need to be maintained at a temperature which is optimum for non-solidification as well as non-burning. To prevent solidification or burning, other than maintaining the optimum temperature, the contents are stirred continuously and gradually.
Popular Fondue Recipes
The fondu is prepared commonly with cheese as its main ingredient, though a large number of other sweet and savory ingredients may also used in variations of the dish. A fondue recipe may be broadly classified as a cheese fondu or a non-cheese fondu.
- Swiss Fondu – these are traditional fondue recipes and are made with different kinds of cheese, namely, Gruyere, Emmental, Appenzeller, and Fribourg Vacherin cheeses. Apart from bread, potatoes are also dunked in some Swiss fondues like the Fribourgeoise. Other types of fondu are made with tomato, mushroom, and spices with wine.
- French and Italian alpine fondues like savoyarde, and fonduta are made of comte, beauforte and fontina cheeses.
Non Cheese Fondues
- Meat fondu – Fondue Bourguignonne, bressane(made with chicken), chinoise are fondues made with beef and they are commonly consumed with bread which is dipped in it.
- Dessert fondu – a number of dessert fondue recipes include those made with melted chocolate, caramel, coconut, honey or marshmallows. The sweet fondu is used for dipping fruits or pastries, for consumption as a dessert after a meal.
As fondu is a communal dish and is served in a common pot, it is imperative that one should follow the etiquette prescribed for its consumption. A vital aspect of fondue consumption etiquette is to not let the dipping fork come in direct contact with one’s mouth, tongue or lips. Repeated dipping of an item is prohibited.