I know it's a bit eighties, but has anyone fed their children fondue? What recipes and how successfully?

For some reason people kept giving me fondue sets a few years ago, and I now have three. I think the communal nature of eating fondue is rather nice and family friendly, but the naked flames and potentially boiling fat are not. So can it be done?

asked 15 Jan '10, 14:31

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

edited 15 Jan '10, 21:35

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Scott ♦♦

Well, we tried chocolate fondue today. I made it with 85% cocoa solids dark chocolate and cream, and it didn't really melt properly, kind of went gritty rather than smooth. I added way more cream than the recipe, but still never went runny. Anyway, the 8 yr old seemed to like it, the 6 yr old had a fair bit but ended up eating just strawberries without the sauce, and the 2 1/2 yr old quickly decided to ignore the chocolate and just enjoyed spearing fruit with the exciting fork and ate tonnes (he loves fruit anyway).

(15 Feb '10, 21:25) Meg Stephenson

OK, here goes for fondues: I've included a fairly exhaustive list for the curious, otherwise you can just skip to the end for the conclusion.

(Sorry if I use the French terms, where I'm not sure if there are equivalents in English.)

Cheese fondue - basically just wine, cheese and a smidgin of cornflour, eaten with bits of bread on forks dipped into the molten fondue. People tend to only drink white wine or hot tea with cheese fondue - they say it is to avoid having a big lump of cheese stuck in the stomach. I'm not sure if there's a scientific basis for that though.

Fondue bourguignonne - this is apparently what Meg was thinking of in her question. Basically chunks of meat boiled in oil - generally beef (or horse or even ostrich, sorry if that gives you the queezies). Yummy, but it's not considered very healthy even here in Swissland where cheese fondu is almost the national dish (not sure that it's much healthier!).

Fondue chinoise - Rich Seller has done a pretty comprehensive answer on that. Here people tend to serve several different types of meat: beef, horse, ostrich, chicken, pork (less often). Typically served with rice, different sauces, and salad.

Fondue aux tomates - same as cheese fondue, but with (roughly) 30% added tomato - pureed tinned tomato (i.e., not ketchup or tomato paste). It is eaten slightly differently - ladled onto boiled/steamed potatoes. Slightly easier on the digestion (or it seems that way).

Fondue mongole - this is a bit high-fallutin', only actually ever seen this once. It's like fondue chinoise, except that it's fish instead of meat, the broth has seaweed in, and instead of spiking the fish on a fork, you lower it down in little tea-strainer-like nets.

Fondue au chocolat - chocolate melted in a little bit of cream, or milk. Chopped fruit. When I first heard of this, I imagined it would be horribly sickly sweet. But they use very dark chocolate, which is nicely balanced out by the natural sweetness of the fruit.

For kids?

On a safety front, boiling oil is hotter than boiling water, and boiling water is hotter than melted cheese. And I'd guess that the safest of all is the chocolate, as it only needs a little candle to stay melted. Having said that, the danger is less from having hot liquids, than having little people balanced half on their chair, half on the table, trying to dip forks in to hot liquids. You could do it for them, but then you lose a bit of the communal, fun side.

To be honest, having thought about it for this question, I think I'd go for the chocolate one, if it really is for the fun, and for the kids. It's the one they're most likely to eat, and it's the least dangerous one. You can even have them help preparing the fruit (bananas are so soft, even a two year old could cut them with a totally blunt knife). And for those who don't like fruit, it might just persuade them! (The thinner you make the chocolate mix, the more fruit they eat!)

Here is a nice photo that shows what it looks like.

(Of course, this won't be much help if your none of your fondue sets are appropriate. The hot oil and hot water types tend to be made of thin metal - this isn't much good for chocolate and cheese because the heat isn't diffused enough and they get burnt. I suspect you could probably do chocolate fondue in a big bowl, you'd just have to find some ingenious way to prop it above a candle.)


answered 16 Jan '10, 22:02

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

Over the holidays we had a fondue dinner. We had a combo, meat, cheese (Guyere fondue cheese from a package, no alcohol added) with bread and vegetables, and chocolate with fruit. For the meat, we use low sodium broth (chicken, vegetable, or beef) instead of oil to cook the meat. It's both healthier and tastier.

Our daughter (15 months at the time) had some of almost everything, we obviously cooked for her and just made sure the food was cooled down for her before she ate it. It however was not her main meal as I doubt she would have the patience to wait for each little piece of food at that age.


answered 15 Jan '10, 15:27

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 17 Jan '10, 03:08

Be very careful with cheese fondues, particularly with little ones.It is very easy to choke on congealed cheese, paricularly if you drink whilst eating it.

I'd recommend a "fondue chinois". It is quite similar to Tammy's broth. It is quite easy to make and you can cook more pieces of meat concurrently than in oil as the meat will simmer rather than fry. As Tammy says it is also healthier than an oil or cheese fondue, and certainly safer as there is no boiling oil or molten cheese to deal with.

Here is a basic recipe, you can easily adjust according to taste.

  • 1 - 2 pounds of flank steak
  • 1 litre (2 pints) good quality stock
  • If using non-beef stock, some beef bouillion
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tbsp white wine or white wine vinegar if you're worried about the alcohol - though it will evaporate off while simmering
  • 500 g (1 lb) sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 slices ginger, chopped
  • black pepper to taste

Freeze the steak for an hour or two then use a very sharp knife to cut into thin slices and lay on a platter.

Lightly fry the onions until softened, then add the stock, water, bouillion and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into the fondue to about 2/3 full and adjust the burner so it simmers. Leave the remaining broth on the hob and top up the fondue pot with it as needed.

To eat, simply impale each piece on the fondue fork and leave in the pot for a few minutes. If you've cut the slices finely enough it should not take long to cook.

Once you've eaten the meat, cook some thread noodles in the broth. It's a nice way to finish off the meal.


answered 15 Jan '10, 17:57

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

Thanks Rich, we'll have to try that some time.

(15 Jan '10, 20:48) Tammy ♦♦

My in-laws always have Cheese Fondue (very inauthentic and doesn't contain alcohol :) ) for Christmas Eve and Chocolate Fondue for New Year's Eve. I asked my mother-in-law but she doesn't remember exactly when they started including the children though she thinks it was around grade-school (7+ years).

Cheese Fondue

Source: Mommy Logan

  • 3/4 lb chedder cheese, grated
  • canned milk
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce (this would be the vegetarian version, not sure if it tastes different or not)
  • 3 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • dash salt
  • shake seasoning salt

Melt ingredients together.

Possible dip items: bread, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, celery.

Chocolate Fondue

Source: Mommy Logan

  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • milk (or evaporated milk)
  • butter
  • marshmallows
  • vanilla

Melt ingredients together until right texture.

Possible fruit for dipping: bananas, raisins, apples, mandarin oranges, nuts, marshmallows, pineapple.


answered 16 Jan '10, 14:27

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

edited 16 Jan '10, 14:59

I am not a fondue expert but I have seen that chocolate fondue sets have become popular, so maybe you could give that a try, before moving onto hot cheese perhaps? I think our Swiss parents could give you some valuable tips :-)


answered 15 Jan '10, 14:47

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accept rate: 19%

I would like to point out that most cheese fondues contain alcohlol (white wine, kirsch). Try broth or oil (with meat etc) instead.

(15 Jan '10, 15:44) brandstaetter

@brandstaetter I didn't know that! I have only tried it once briefly at the Swissotel.

(15 Jan '10, 17:21) Emi

@brandstaetter Alcohol should boil off during the preparation phase. Kids'll get more drunk off Purell fumes than a cheese fondue.

(17 Jan '10, 16:55) ceejayoz
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Asked: 15 Jan '10, 14:31

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Last updated: 17 Jan '10, 03:08