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02.17.2005

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...and melt with you 
how to have a fondue party by Stephanie Cloutier |
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continued from page 1

To keep the mixture still bubbling at the table, place the pot on its stand over the small burner. (Both the stand and the burner come as part of the fondue set.) The container of the burner should be filled with alcohol and have a diffuser that allows you to control and adjust the heat source. You cannot substitute this with a candle -- though some fondue sets will attempt to do so -- as the candle will not keep your mixture warm enough.
Along with the pot and burner, you'll need fondue forks. These forks are not your typical everyday utensils. Instead, they're extra-long and with two serrated tines designed for spearing your food and safely dipping into the pot. They have either a plastic or wooden handle, very often with a colored tip so guests will know which fork is theirs.

You don't need to break the bank when it comes to procuring yourself the necessary equipment. You can find fondue sets on the market for a reasonable price at your local kitchen supply store (keep in mind that earthenware is a littler pricier than enamel). If you're looking for a fondue set with vintage flair, visit eBay. Type in 'fondue sets' and you'll see pages of fondue sets for a very affordable price. Better yet, if you're thinking of a no-purchase alternative, raid your parents' or grandparents' kitchen. There's a good chance that there's a fondue set tucked away in a high shelf somewhere, a relic from the first time fondue parties became cool.

how to eat a fondue
Before you roll your eyes and assume Miss Manners-type speech will be heard, there are certain rules of etiquette involved when it comes eating a fondue. All of which, you will see, are important.
Fondues are communal meals, meaning each guest dips their food morsels into one pot. For the germ conscious, that thought may not sound appealing; however, there's a solution. Supply each guest with a separate fork so that they can slide off the food from the fondue fork onto the plate. This will ensure that the fondue fork doesn't enter the mouth and go back into the pot. To accomplish all this, you may want to organize a sit-down fondue party, as it will be quite a juggling act to fiddle with two forks and a plate while standing. However, if you trust your guests' personal hygiene is satisfactory then the extra fork isn't necessary. It's up to your own discretion as the host.

Eating the dipped food is just as simple. When you dip your food into the fondue, twirl it into the mixture making sure it's well coated. Then as you lift your fork out, you should twirl it again before eating it. The latter part is not just a fancier way to eat it: you don't want a mess of cheese dripping from the pot to the plate, and more importantly, you don't want to burn your mouth by not allowing the food to cool. It's not just etiquette: it's common sense. the upper crust
As the hot cheesy mixture keeps on bubbling at the dinner table, most often a crust will form at the bottom of the fondue pot. To some, the crust is considered a delicacy. To enjoy it, just use your fondue fork to scrape it off and depending on how hot your heat source is, another delicious crust will form at the bottom of the pot.

keep on ambling folks 

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