Chocolate Fondue: the Best Dessert Ever

If you've never tried chocolate fondue, you're missing out on a stupendous treat!

Until a few years back, Your Humble Writer had never heard of chocolate fondue. Oh, I'd seen the cheesy fondue sets sold back in the day, and I'd seen chocolate fountains in action. I'd even dipped the occasional strawberry in chocolate, and savored the combination of flavors.

But somehow I never came up with the idea of dipping things in hot melted chocolate. Fortunately, a valued friend, also a self-described fellow Chocolate Extremo, helped me see the light -- and I've yet to look back.

The History

It's hard to say who, exactly, gets the credit for fonduizing chocolate, but it probably happened not long after chocolate was first used to make cocoa, because it would seem to be a natural progression.

The concept of fondue in general started out in Switzerland and France; the earliest known recipe dates back to 1699. The word itself is a past participle of the French fondre, which means to melt. Logical enough.

As you know, the dish involves dipping things like bread and veggies on long forks or skewers into what was, until the 19th century, a mixture of eggs and cheese served in a communal pot over a small burner. Clearly, the idea has evolved somewhat since.

The Swiss Connection

Officially, the idea of fondue with chocolate as the main ingredient was born in New York in the 1960s, the brainchild of a Swiss restaurateur named Konrad Egli. However, it didn't take the nation by storm the way cheese fondue did at about the same time.

Being the sophisticated people we now are in the second decade of the 21st century, the popularity of this form of fondue is rising. And honestly, it couldn't be any simpler. You don't need anything special to make or serve your favorite theobromine-fortified fondue.

So Let's Get Started

The tools are basically the same ones you need for any fondue: a fondue pot, a burner, and skewers or long forks. You can buy all these things at Wal-Mart (though you can go more upscale if you want). Where it really gets interesting is in the ingredients of the actual fondue, and the things you choose to dip.

Needless to say, I will provide you with some tasty recipes in upcoming articles, but let me start out by saying this: while there are certain broad limits to the concept (you need to be able to dip things in hot melted chocolate, at least), the limitations are minimal -- so use your imagination here!

If you can't think of all kinds of exciting ways to enjoy chocolate fondue (and I mean legal ways), then we're going to have to ask you to turn in your Chocolate Extremo card.