It just isn’t Valentine’s Day without this special treat.
When I was in high school, by far the best place your prom date could take you for dinner was The Melting Pot. It was, in our teenage eyes, the height of sophistication without being too intimidating. They served foods we recognized—bread, cheese, chocolate—but in a whole new (pricey) way.
I was never lucky enough to have a Melting Pot date (I did go to Rainforest Cafe before prom, though, so don't feel too sorry for me). As I got older and tried fondue, I totally understood the appeal. What’s more fun than sharing a cauldron of hot cheese or chocolate (my two favorite foods) with a group of friends or a hungry date, dipping one item after the other and chowing down?
If there’s ever a time deserving of chocolate fondue, it’s Valentine’s Day. It ticks all of the boxes: chocolatey, interactive, and fun to eat. When I found out that fondue is Simply Recipes' most popular recipe for Valentine’s Day, I had to make it right away as an early celebration with friends. I piled fresh and dried fruit, cookies, and pretzels on platters and we all gathered around my picnic table. It was a deliciously good time.
Whether you’re planning an intimate date, a night with your girlfriends, or a family love fest, I highly recommend you make Elise’s chocolate fondue. You don’t even need a fondue pot!
Tips for Making Chocolate Fondue
I’ve learned a few things from working with chocolate over the years and making chocolate fondue. It’s incredibly easy, but things can go sideways. Follow these tips for perfect fondue every time.
If you don’t have a fondue pot, use a regular pot wrapped in a towel and set on a trivet. For the fondue forks, use skewers.
Don't scorch the cream. Get the cream steaming hot and bubbling around the edges, but no hotter! Otherwise it will scorch and take on an off flavor.
Prep your chocolate. Make sure your chocolate is well-chopped and at room temperature. I like to keep my baking chocolate in the fridge, but it should be at room temp for easy melting.
Add extra salt. I think salt makes everything taste better, and chocolate is certainly no exception. I add a big pinch and, if I’m in the mood, a pinch of espresso powder, too. Both ingredients help bring out the flavors of the chocolate.
Use good chocolate. The better the chocolate tastes, the better the fondue will be.
Don’t use chocolate that is too dark. I’d stick with roughly 75% or lower since high cocoa chocolate means a less creamy fondue.
Beware of the fondue pot. I’ve used a few, and the last one I borrowed from a friend is an old-school electric model. It was convenient but got WAY too hot. I scorched the first batch and had to start over, and ended up just leaving it turned off while we scarfed down the contents. Too much heat is lethal for chocolate, so it’s best to underdo it and reheat with a splash of cream if needed.
My Favorite Things to Dip
Pretty much everything tastes great dipped in chocolate, but here are a few of my favorite things to offer as part of a colorful spread:
Chunks of just-ripe-enough banana
Dried apricots (especially this kind)
Dates (especially with dark chocolate)
Candied orange peel or slices
Toasted walnuts (hard to skewer but delicious)
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