When it comes to romantic restaurants, most people are quick to turn to traditional favorites like Italian and French. But if you really want to impress your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, try looking to their European neighbor Switzerland for something a little more fun: Fondue!
Whether you’re looking for an excuse to cozy up over a dimly lit table with a date or have a group of girls looking for a Valentine’s Day activity, fondue is a meal you’ll find both delicious and entertaining. New to this dippable dish? Allow First Bites to show you the way!
Cheese fondue is a mixture of rich cheeses like Emmenthaler and Gruyere blended with garlic, spices, white wine and kirsch, which is a clear brandy. It is served hot and bubbly in a communal pot over a flame, with long fondue forks for dipping. If you stir the fondue, do so in a figure-eight motion to keep it from forming clumps.
Cheese fondue will typically be served with a selection of breads, apples, veggies (think broccoli and mushrooms) or ham. Select the item of your choice and place it on the end of your fondue fork, then carefully dunk it in the cheese mixture, twirling as you lift it back out to prevent spills. Place the cheesy veggie or piece of bread on your plate for a moment to allow it to cool (do not eat the bite right off the fondue fork), and enjoy! Though you’ll be ready for more, remember not to double dip – that’s a major fondue faux pas. Picking a new morsel to dip is part of the fun, so load up that fork and get dipping.
Though an old wives tale warned that some beverages would cause cheese fondue to curdle in your stomach, studies have shown that to be false. Most fondue experts recommend pairing a dry white wine or black tea with cheese fondue, but be sure to ask your server for house specials or other drink suggestions.
On To The Oil
Some restaurants will serve a small salad between your cheese and meat course, but be sure to save some room because you’ve got a lot of eating left to do. Oil fondue can be served with a variety of meats, commonly chicken and beef, as well as seafood like lobster and scallops. This course also tends to come with a heaping side of fresh veggies, like cauliflower, onions, broccoli and mushrooms, for frying.
As with the cheese fondue, select your morsel of choice and place it on the end of your fondue fork – but the process differs from there. Dunk your meat into the oil and leave it there frying for a few minutes or until it appears crispy and done. An important key to success during this part of the meal is remembering which fondue forks are yours – you don’t want to steal your date’s carefully selected scallop! Most fondue forks will be color-coded to avoid incident, but pay close attention to what you have in the pot to prevent confusion.
Once you’ve removed your crisp bite from the pot, you’re really in for a treat. Meat fondues are generally served with a selection of dipping sauces and the possibilities are endless: mustard, horseradish, spicy ketchup, tangy teriyaki, creamy aioli, curr
y and ginger are just a few of the options you might enjoy. The meat/veggie/sauce combinations are endless and provide plenty to talk about with your date or group of friends – you definitely won’t be at a loss for conversation topics at a fondue dinner!
But Wait, There’s More…
Just when you think you can’t eat any more rich, delicious fondue … you have to, because it’s time for the chocolate course!
Chocolate fondue is eaten in the same way as cheese fondue, with morsels dipped into the gooey goodness and twirled to prevent dripping. Restaurants can get creative with the decadent dipping options, from pound cake, marshmallows, cheesecake squares and rice krispy treats, to fresh strawberries, pineapple, bananas and more.
When you’ve eaten your fill (and trust us, you will), fight off the food coma for a moment and reflect on the incredible meal you’ve just enjoyed. A fondue dinner is an experience that’s meant to be savored, and ideally, you and your date will have bonded over the activity of the decadent dinner. Then, pay your check and head home before the dim lighting and cozy atmosphere lull you both to sleep!
If you’re ready to wow your date with your expert dipping skills, get started on your search for a fondue date spot here!