Dipping items in a communal pot of gooey, warm, melted cheese or chocolate can be a fun experience, and full restaurants have capitalized on the trend. Common dippers for cheese fondue include cubes of bread, apple slices, and raw vegetables. With chocolate fondue, you’re probably familiar with typical dippers such as strawberries, marshmallows, and pretzels. But if you want to take your fondue experience up a notch, making it way more interesting and creative, check out these 12 surprisingly delicious items to dip in fondue.
1. BEEF JERKY
Dessert jerky, anyone? Although you might have already dipped cubes of steak or ham into cheese fondue, try using beef jerky as a dipper. You can certainly try pieces of beef jerky with cheese fondue, but the combination of the salty jerky with the salty melted cheese might give you sodium overload. To get a uniquely sweet, salty taste, a la chocolate-covered bacon, dip beef or turkey jerky into chocolate fondue.
2. STEAMED VEGETABLES
Crudités are a common cheese fondue option, but you can get more creative by using steamed veggies as dippers instead. Try steaming carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery, or branch out by using cooked mushrooms, artichoke hearts, green beans, or asparagus tips.
Avocados are creamy, rich, and healthy, and pair surprisingly well with chocolate fondue. Vegan dessert recipes often use avocado in place of butter due to its creamy consistency, and avocado dipped in chocolate is a great match. Because ripe avocados can be soft and a bit messy, though, you might want to put cubes of avocado in the freezer before dipping them in chocolate.
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans serves chocolate fondue … with insects as dippers. Visitors gather around a chocolate fondue fountain and dip toothpicks with crickets and wax worms into the chocolate. The nutty flavor of the insects reportedly pairs well with the warm chocolate.
Rather than ordering a plate of macaroni and cheese, just add some chunkier pasta to your cheese fondue spread. So that you don't lose your piece of pasta in the vat of melted cheese, choose firm pasta shapes that are not too small or too long—and ones you can easily skewer. Ravioli, tortellini, and rigatoni work well, but you can also experiment with farfalle, rotelle, or fusilli.
6. JALAPEÑO PEPPERS
Spicy and sweet is a popular flavor combination, so why not dip jalapeños into chocolate fondue? Make sure to take the seeds out of the peppers if you want them slightly less hot, and use gloves so you don’t irritate your skin.
7. MINT LEAVES
If you like York Peppermint Patties, try dipping mint leaves into chocolate fondue. Look for fresh sprigs of mint, and hold the sprig by its stem to dip it into the chocolate. Either eat it straight up, wait until the chocolate hardens, or use the chocolate-covered mint leaves as a topper on another dessert such as ice cream or a slice of pie.
8. CURED MEATS
Rather than dipping kebobs of cooked chicken or beef into cheese fondue, try using cured meats instead for a different flavor profile. The options are many, but you can start with cubes or chunks of salami, soppressata, or chorizo. If you have slices of cured meat rather than chunks, you can simply wrap the slice around a thick skewer. Also, cooked bacon in chocolate fondue will attain a salty and sweet taste combo, and if the bacon is crispy enough, it can act as its own skewer.
9. POTATOES AND POTATO CHIPS
Roasted baby potatoes are the perfect size for dipping into cheese fondue, and the taste is similar to a cheesy baked potato. You don’t have to stop with roasted potatoes, though. Try potato chips (use tongs to dip them), potato skins, or thick-cut French fries—dipping these into cheese or chocolate tastes great. Not sure if you’ll like the taste of potatoes plus chocolate? Lay's makes milk chocolate covered potato chips, which will give you a good idea of how potatoes and chocolate fondue will taste.
Pickles and cheese make a surprisingly delicious combination. Although you can dip any type of gherkin into fondue, cornichons reportedly work quite well because of their size and crunchiness. Just make sure they're not straight out of the jar—you don't want too much brine pooling in the cheese pot.
11. FROZEN FRUIT
Soft fruits such as mango, kiwi, peach, and papaya might be difficult to dip into chocolate fondue without the fruit dissolving or getting lost in the gooey pot. But these fruits taste delicious with a chocolate coating, so simply cut up bite-sized pieces of fruit and freeze them. They’ll be much easier to dip, and you can pat yourself on the back for eating your daily serving of fruits (even if they are covered in chocolate).
12. BALLS OF COOKIE DOUGH
Pieces of cake, brownies, and cookies are commonly dipped in chocolate fondue, but balls of cookie dough are an all-too-often overlooked alternative. Make your favorite type of cookie dough (chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, peanut butter, and oatmeal work well), roll the dough into balls, and dip them into a pot of melted chocolate. To save time, just buy prepackaged frozen cookie dough and let it thaw a little before dipping. The warm chocolate with the cold cookie dough is delightful.