The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat fondue. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What fondue etiquette is

Fondue etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat fondue. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve fondue to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat fondue at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat cheese fondue

What you should know about fondue

Fondue is a Swiss dish that consists of melted cheese, served in a communal pot or caquelon, heated with a small burner. It is typically eaten by dipping pieces of bread into the cheese with long-stemmed forks.

Fondue is typically a rich, creamy, and flavorful cheese sauce. It has a smooth texture and is usually a pale yellow or golden color, depending on the type of cheese used. The flavor can vary depending on the cheese used, but it’s generally savory and slightly tangy.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat fondue

1) How to store fondue

Store fondue in an airtight container in the fridge, where it can last for up to three days. You can also freeze it for up to three months, but it may separate when thawed. To reheat, simply place it in a pot or caquelon and heat it over low heat until it warms and melts.

Signs that fondue has turned bad include mold, an off smell, or an unpleasant taste.

2) How to clean fondue

To clean a fondue pot or caquelon, it is best to let it cool completely before washing it with warm, soapy water. It is important to avoid using any abrasive materials that could damage the non-stick coating.

3) How to prepare & cook fondue

Fondue is typically eaten cooked. Avoid eating it raw. To prepare fondue, you can use a fondue pot or caquelon, which is heated with a small burner. The most common way to cook fondue is by dipping pieces of bread into the melted cheese. However, other foods can be used as well. Utensils such as long-stemmed forks are typical for dipping.

It is made with a variety of cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmental. Avoid using strong and pungent cheeses that may overpower the flavor.

Fondue can be made to accommodate various dietary needs, such as keto. It is not suitable for vegan and paleo diets. It may contain common allergens such as milk and wheat. There are no religious dietary restrictions that forbid eating fondue.

4) How to serve & present fondue

Fondue is appropriate for a variety of occasions, from formal to informal meals. You can serve it as a main course, appetizer, or cheese course. It is not typically served for breakfast, brunch, or as a snack. Fondue is most appropriate in cold weather, it is best to avoid serving it in warm weather or during the summer months.

To serve fondue, it is best to keep it warm over low heat in a fondue pot or caquelon. The ideal serving temperature is around 150°F (65°C). It is most appropriate to present it in a communal pot with long-stemmed forks for dipping.

You can accompany fondue with bread, crackers, or vegetables for dipping. Some of the best seasonings include garlic, nutmeg, and white wine.

5) Food and wine to pair fondue with

Fondue pairs well with a variety of vegetables and fruits, including broccoli, apples, and pears. You should avoid it with water-based fruits and vegetables that may dilute the flavor.

Avoid pairing it with other cheeses and dairy products. Fondue can pair with meats such as beef and chicken. Avoid pairing it with fish or seafood, as the cheese flavor can be overpowering.

Both red and white wines can complement this dish nicely. For red wines, lighter-bodied options like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais can work well. For white wines, crisp and acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Chardonnay can be good choices. It is best to avoid heavy or oaky wines that could overpower the delicate flavors of the fondue. Other beverage options that can work well include sparkling wines, beer, and even spirits like brandy or Kirsch.

6) How to eat fondue

The most polite etiquette for eating fondue is to use a long-stemmed fork to dip your food into the fondue pot. It is not polite to eat fondue with your fingers or to double-dip your fork into the pot. When eating, it is best to eat the entire piece of food that you have dipped into the fondue and to avoid leaving any pieces or scraps in the pot. You can use a regular dinner plate or a small fondue plate to hold your food while eating.

Fondue etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common fondue etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Double-dipping.
  • 8/10. Leaving pieces of food or scraps in the pot.
  • 7/10. Using your fingers to eat the fondue.
  • 6/10. Using a regular fork or knife to eat fondue.

Additional information for properly serving fondue

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

The number of calories in fondue can vary depending on the recipe and ingredients used. On average, one serving of fondue (about 100 grams) can contain anywhere from 250 to 400 calories. You can check the nutritional information of the specific fondue recipe that you are using to get a more accurate calorie count.

How to buy the best fondue

A crucial factor in fondue etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Fondue is typically available all year round. However, it is most popular during the colder months when warm, comforting dishes are more desirable. The best season to buy fondue may depend on your personal preference and the occasion you are serving it for.

Choose the best

The most common ways to find fondue in commerce include buying pre-packaged fondue mixes, purchasing ready-made fondue at a specialty food store or online, or making your own fondue from scratch using fresh ingredients.

Some of the most popular varieties of fondue in commerce include cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, and oil or broth-based fondue for cooking meats and vegetables. Cheese fondue is typically made with Swiss cheese and can be flavored with white wine, garlic, and other spices. Chocolate fondue is usually made with dark or milk chocolate and can be flavored with liqueurs or extracts. Both of these types of fondue are highly prized for their rich, decadent flavors.

When buying fondue, look for high-quality ingredients like Swiss cheese or premium chocolate. It is also important to check the expiration date and storage instructions to ensure that the fondue is fresh and hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for too long. You can also read reviews or ask for recommendations from friends or a specialty food store to find the best fondue options.

Alternatives to fondue

Some common alternatives to fondue include raclette (a Swiss dish made with melted cheese), hot pot (a Chinese dish with a similar cooking style as fondue), and tapas or mezze (small plates of appetizers and snacks). Other cheese-based dishes like mac and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches can also provide similar flavors and textures to cheese fondue.