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What Should I Know About Fondue Etiquette?

Skewering correctly is an important part of fondue etiquette.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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Fondue etiquette is important to know if you plan to attend a fondue party, which since the early 2000s have become pretty popular again. Hosts can help their guests by providing them with a few things that will have their guests politely eating fondue, instead of offending each other with ignoring fondue etiquette. There are a few dos and don’ts too, which will keep you eating politely as possible while dipping or cooking food in a communal pot.

First, if you’re invited to a fondue party and you’re sick, don’t go. There’s too much chance of sharing your illness with others, which simply isn’t fair. Cancel as soon as you can with your host so they have a chance to invite someone else.

Second, never, ever double dip; this violates fondue etiquette to the extreme. Once you’ve dipped into the pot once, and taken a bite of cheese covered bread, chocolate covered fruit or cooked meat, don’t add it back into the pot. This same rule applies when eating chips and dips at a party. Make your dip count because it’s one dip per piece of food.

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There’s also some discussion about fondue etiquette when it comes to using fondue forks. Though these are great for skewering bread, meat, or marshmallows or fruit, it can be very hard not to touch the fork to your lips. There are a few ways the host can make this simpler. Provide each diner with a plate and a small fork to remove dipped pieces, or use bamboo skewers, which can simply be removed and tossed after one dip. Hosts should also be sure that food is truly cut into bite sized pieces, to avoid guests having to stuff extra large pieces of food in their mouths, also a fondue no-no.

When you’re ready to try your first fondue dip, of melted cheese, hot oil, or chocolate, there’s a simple method for getting the perfect, and perfectly polite dip. Skewer the food to be dipped so that the skewer goes through the piece of food, which will help avoid dropping the food into the fondue mix. Next, dip the food, and give it one to two swirls at most. If the food falls into the fondue, custom differs on whether to retrieve it. You might ask a host to help you so that others have a clean pot in which to dip their food. Don’t dig for it, though.

When you remove your food from the dip it will usually be very hot. The temptation here would be to blow on the food to cool it down. Fondue etiquette suggests waiting instead of blowing on the food. You certainly don’t want to blow hot cheese, hot oil or hot chocolate on someone else. If you are using disposable skewers, you can eat the dipped food right off the skewer. When using fondue forks, remove the piece with another fork, being careful not to touch the tines of your “eating” fork to your dipping fork. Then enjoy the dipped food as soon as it is cooled enough to eat.

Lastly, fondue etiquette suggests you don’t dip at the same time someone else is. Dipping should proceed in either a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion so each person gets his or her own chance to dip. Perfect the dip and swirl (fondue is great to make at home too!) so you don’t take up too much time during this exchange.

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Discuss this Article

bythewell
Post 3

@KoiwiGal - I guess I just have a kind of devil may care attitude to that kind of thing. You should take reasonable precautions, but I love a chocolate fountain fondue and I'd never pass it up just because I might get a cold from it. That's true of every door knob you handle in your day. If you get too paranoid you'd never leave your home.

Just do your best to be polite and hope others do the same in return.

KoiwiGal
Post 2

@Mor - I don't know, it would depend on how hot the food is being kept. If it's not hot enough it might even act as an incubator for germs. Fondue sauce with dozens of people dipping into it, especially at a buffet where you don't know them, could quickly become a health hazard.

I'd be very cautious about having fondue at a buffet restaurant, for example, unless someone was keeping an eye on the fountain. It's a fun idea, but lots of people bring kids to those places and I very much doubt that they all teach them proper fondue etiquette before letting them loose on the food. It's like a cold waiting to happen.

Mor
Post 1

I think that people tend to be a little bit over-cautious when it comes to worrying about whether or not the fork has touched someone's lips. I mean the fondue machine is pretty hot and I don't think you're going to escape being breathed on in the close quarters required for a fondue party anyway, which is just as effective at transferring germs.

I mean, I'd follow the etiquette as well, but I think it's got more to do with being polite than actually preventing anyone from getting ill.

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