Fondue is French for "melt," from fondre. The term fondue has several meanings; the first three definitions pertain to food cooked in a central pot at the table. 1. Fondue au fromage is a classic dish of Swiss heritage consisting of cheese (usually emmental and gruyère) melted and combined with white wine, kirsch and seasonings. Bite-size chunks of French bread are dipped into the hot, savory mixture. Such fondue is typically served (and sometimes prepared) in a fondue pot, which generally comes in a set with six to eight long-handled fondue forks. The pot sits atop a stand fitted with a container for heat. See also fonduta; queso fundido. 2. Fondue bourguignonne is a variation whereby cubes of raw beef are cooked in a communal pot of hot oil then dipped into various savory sauces. 3. Chocolate fondue is a combination of melted chocolate, cream and sometimes liqueur into which fruit or cake may be dipped. 4. In French cooking the term fondue refers to finely chopped vegetables that have been reduced to a pulp by lengthy and slow cooking. This mixture is often used as a garnish, usually with meats or fish.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.