However, the presence of hot cooking oil at the dinner table, could present a safety risk, but if you use care and follow my simple fondue set safety tips, you can build memories around the table and enjoy this unique dining experience.
Types of Fondue Sets
There are generally three types of fondue sets: Non-electric tea light, non-electric liquid fuel (Sterno) burner and electric fondue sets. A fondue heated with a tea light is sufficient for sauces, but heat will not reach a temperature sufficient for cooking meat and seafood. These are ideal fondue sets for cheese, chocolate or other sauces.
Fondues heated by liquid fuel will reach higher cooking temperatures and are usually used for meats and seafood. Electric fondues will generally have a variable temperature setting that can be adjusted for cooking or warming and can be used for either type of fondue.
Most fondue sets come with long handled forks which are a must for any fondue. These can also be purchased separately. Allow at least two forks per guest and if you have several sauces or dips, more is better.
The fondue set featured is the Trudeau Electric Fondue Set 3-in-1, which can be used either for a hot oil or broth, or cheese or chocolate fondue.
Fondue Set Safety
- Dining guests: Since cooking oil is present, fondue dining is more suitable for adults and teens, rather than young children.
- Time: Fondue dining involves relaxed cooking so it takes much longer than other dinners. Allow plenty of time for cooking and dining, often the whole evening.
- Food Preparation: Cut and marinate meats ahead; have all condiments ready to serve; all fondue set and accessories on the table, and preheat oil and sauces before adding to the fondue pot.
- Avoid overcrowding at the table: Guests need ample elbow room for cooking and eating.
- Fondue sets: Though you can have a fondue with only one set, a second (or more) allows you to have one for meat/seafood and another (or more) for cheese or sauces.
- Fondue forks are a must: It's the long handle that makes these forks more appropriate for reaching across the table into hot cooking oil or sauce. Allow one or more forks (3 is ideal) for each guests, so they can scoop cheese with bread while their meat or seafood is cooking.
- Stability: Place the hot fondue set on the table ensuring the base is stable and where guests can easily and safely reach it. Use a wooden cutting board underneath to make the area more stable and to protect your table from a hot fondue base.
- Minimize movement to and from the table: Use care during the dinner to reduce the risk of spills. Using a tablecloth is not recommended as it could be pulled during the cooking process; use place mats instead.
- Avoid cross-contamination of foods: Guests should not eat with the fondue forks, but rather take the cooked meat off the long fork onto their plate, and then use a regular dinner fork to eat that morsel. Fondue forks should only be used to cook and dip the food into the fondue pots. Small individual condiment dipping pots are ideal.
- Fondue Pot Filling: While it may be tempting to fill the fondue with oil, a half measure or slightly more is usually sufficient for cooking.
- Avoid Cord Draping: When an electric fondue is used, avoid draping the cord where it could be pulled. Repositioning the table closer to an electrical outlet may be safer.
Non-electric fondue sets are easier to arrange on the table since they do not have a cord. However, the heating temperature is sometimes difficult or impossible to control. If the heat is too high, delicate sauces such as cheese or chocolate, will be more susceptible to burning. Cooking will be slow or inadequate if the temperature is too low. Keeping the oil at the right and consistent heat is important for best cooking.
While electric fondues do have cords which require more care at the table, most have adjustable temperature settings to control the heat and some models will cycle on/off during cooking, to keep the heat constant.
Which fondue is safest is debatable and either model requires heat to be monitored and adjusted. Some electric fondue sets have the added safety feature of a breakaway magnetic electrical plug, which disconnects the units when the cord is moved. This can prevent dangerous spill-overs.
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