I love fondue pots! They are such clever little devices that, to me, seem to add a bit of exotic romance to eating some pretty basic food.
At least, I consider chocolate to be one of the basic food groups, don't you?
There are a few different types of pots you may want to consider for making and serving fondue.
One of the easiest pots to use is an electric fondue pot. These can be especially handy because you can prepare the fondue and serve it in the same pot.
With this kind of pot, you must be sure that you will have an outlet close enough to your serving table to keep your electric pot plugged in. Nothing terribly exotic about this, but it does serve the purpose well.
Another type of pot used for fondue is the chafing dish. A chafing dish will usually have one pan sitting over another pan of hot water which is warmed by canned heat. You may remember seeing large chafing dishes used at buffet tables. A chafing dish is practical for chocolate fondues because it heats very slowly, which is just what we want.
Finally, we come to my favorite choice, the old fashioned fondue pot! I may be a bit unusual, but there is just something special to me about the simple pot perched on a well balanced stand and hovering over a live flame.
Canned heat is alcohol that has been solidified and stored in a small can. My family used this type of fuel for warming our fondue pot. I was always fascinated by the way it worked. Simply remove the lid and light the gel inside. (It is so much safer these days with those long handled lighters that are so readily available).
To regulate the temperature, you can use the lid to partially cover the can. Some brands of canned heat come with movable covers which makes this task even easier.
A liquid alcohol burner contains a wick or fiber pad protruding from the top. I recommend that if you use an alcohol burner only fill it half full. Never attempt to add fuel while it is lit.
To regulate the temperature on an alcohol burner, you just have to raise or lower the wick.
Of course, it almost goes without saying, but never leave a burning fuel source unattended with children around. They can be a dangerous disaster waiting to happen if you are not diligent.
Most fondue pots come with a selection of long handled forks that are cleverly color coded so that you can identify your own throughout the night. Good thinking, I say.
If you do not have proper fondue forks, or not enough for the number of guests, you can improvise by using wooden or metal skewers. Where there's a will there's a way! :)
Believe it or not, I picked up my current fondue pot at a garage sale for a real bargain price! If you decide to save a few dollars, be sure to check your potential fondue pot, before buying.
If you are considering an electric pot, ask to plug it in and be sure that the heating element is working properly. Always check the inside of the pot to be sure that the surface is not gouged up. A new fondue pot is not so costly that you need to settle for a pot that will be a disappointment in the end. That's no savings in the long run.
Your pot will last for many years if you care for it properly. Be sure to clean it well and dry it after each use. If you are using a liquid alcohol burner, empty the alcohol out after each use.
If you get addicted to fondue parties, you may decide to get a little more elaborate and invest in a fondue fountain! Large fondue fountains are often used by caterers or restaraunts for lavish events, but these days you can purchase a home version on a smaller scale. A fondue fountain really adds class to a fondue party. I guess you could call it an "elite" fondue pot.
Personally, I haven't gone so far as to invest in a fondue fountain yet, but I'm not ruling anything out! When it comes to chocolate, anything's possible! :)
Head on over to check out the chocolate fondue recipes and whet your appetite for some delicious fondue.