If you know me, you know that I can't say no to cheese.
So it should come as no surprise that I am powerless against cheese fondue, which is basically your favorite cheeses melted along with spices, garlic, and a splash of alcohol, like a dry white wine, velvety-sweet sherry, or even a crisp beer.
And while I could eat fondue with nothing more than a spoon, when I invite friends over to enjoy it with me I always try to include a few things for them to dunk and dip in it. Because I get it, not everyone wants to eat a vat of molten cheese by itself for dinner.
From crusty bread and crunchy vegetables to juicy filet and poached chicken, here are the best things to dip in cheese fondue (besides, you know, that spoon I mentioned).
There are many ways to make a cheese fondue, and if I'm being honest, you don't even really need a recipe—just a few basic guidelines to keep in mind. But, if you're not ready to start riffing just yet, there are a couple of great recipes to get you started that play around with different cheese, alcohol, and spice combos—from aged cheddar and pilsner to Gruyère and white wine.
Crusty bread is usually the #1 pick for cheese fondue because, well, it's the best at soaking up all its cheesy goodness. If you're feeling ambitious, you can make yourself a couple of fresh baguettes or this simple, no-knead peasant bread, but I'm also happy to take the store-bought route and pick up a sourdough loaf, or two.
2. Apples & Pears
Fruit and cheese mingle nicely on a cheese board, so why wouldn't they when it comes to fondue? Crisp and tart Granny Smith apples complement its creaminess nicely, while Bosc pears' nutmeg and cinnamon undertones bring out the spices found in many fondues.
3. Broccoli & Cauliflower
I always bring broccoli or cauliflower to my fondue spread to bring a bit of freshness to what's essentially a dairy fest. You can dip them uncooked if you like, but I prefer to give them a light steam to smooth out those raw, bitter flavors.
4. Bell Peppers
Bright bell peppers make a colorful addition to any fondue party, and their natural sweetness works surprisingly well with all that savory cheesiness. Best part: If you slice them into long strips, you won't even need a skewer—you can just dunk 'em straight in.
5. Roasted Potatoes
If you like cheese fries, you will absolutely adore dipping crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-tender-on-the-inside roasted potatoes into a mini vat of bubbling cheese (that isn't neon yellow).
For those of you that think meatballs (be they of the beef, chicken, veal, or vegetarian-friendly variety) are relegated solely to pasta territory—think again. They are exceptionally tasty after a quick dip in a melty, magical cheese fondue.
7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Leafy, green, and yes, good for you, a dish-full of roasted Brussels sprouts are somehow the perfect match to mild, nutty cheeses. It's also the best way to check off your daily recommended vegetable serving.
8. Filet Mignon
Strips of juicy, perfectly cooked filet mignon can only be made better with the addition of one thing: yes, you guessed it, a cheese fondue. Skewer a bit of bread and filet, dip it in fondue, and you've got yourself the fanciest, bite-size burger.
Yes, pickles! From teeny-tiny cornichons to sliced dill pickles, these tangy-sour bites taste really great with a thick and creamy cheese fondue.
Lightly sweet, buttery grilled (or roasted or sautéed) shrimp play nicely with a big, bold cheese fondue made with brandy or white wine. Pro tip: Cook your shrimp with a bit of minced garlic and chopped parsley for an extra flavor kick.
11. Cured Meats
Salty and sometimes spicy, cured meats like prosciutto, salami, soppressata, and chorizo particularly love to get scrunched up on a fondue skewer and take a quick trip to cheese town.
12. Poached Chicken
Poached chicken might not seem like an obvious choice for fondue, but I like to include it because it is basically a blank canvas waiting to be dressed up in the cheeses and spices of your choosing.
13. Large Pasta Shapes
Think of this as a deconstructed macaroni and cheese: choose a large pasta shape that has nooks and crevices (like shells, fusilli, rigatoni, etc.) to soak up the fondue, and then dip and dunk to your heart's content.