Image courtesy of The French Table.

Vancouver Needs More Fondue, Especially This Winter

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For me, fondue is an essential winter dish. These melted pots of pure delight are warm and delicious, and can keep you cozy when that extra layer of clothing just isn’t enough.

The versatility of fondue is part of its appeal, ranging from sweet melted chocolate to sharp cheese. The dipping options are seemingly limitless, from fruit to bread to meat and confections.

The presentation is also an attention-grabber—who wouldn’t want to immediately dig into piping hot, molten Gruyère and Emmenthal cheese with shiny, stainless steel fondue forks? Especially during chilly months when comfort foods are particularly enticing.

A good fondue is meant to slow you down so you can be fully present in the moment. I have fond childhood memories  of my mom letting my sister and I make our own chocolate fondue at home so we could  savour every dip and bite, even if it meant making a mess in the kitchen from melting heaps of chocolate on the stovetop.

In fact I’d say there aren’t enough places in Vancouver that serve this special treat. Granted, from a restaurant’s perspective, fondue can be an expensive item to include on your menu—people  take their time to enjoy it so table turnaround times might be slower, and the ingredients could get quite pricey, especially when it comes to finding quality cheeses.

But I believe there is a demand for this type of dining experience, and when there is demand, there should be supply. Our city is full of foodies who enjoy a unique and satisfying meal, after all.

Luckily, there are a few spots that serve a nice fondue in Vancouver. Here’s where to find some of the best, either to enjoy in the restaurant or to bring home.

The French Table

This Main Street bistro is a go-to for fondue lovers who appreciate the savoury. Its three-cheese fondue is offered daily, and features a combination of Emmenthal, Gruyère, and Appenzeller cheeses with white wine, garlic, and kirsch. The molten goodness is served with nugget potatoes, green salad, and cubed bread—refills are likely because you won’t want to leave any traces of cheese in the pot.

A special Burgundy fondue is also available, but must be ordered two hours in advance when making a reservation. The pinot noir broth takes time to cook, but it will be worth the wait. The meal’s highlight is dipping beef tenderloin into the flavourful pot, which is paired with potatoes, green salad, and five types of mayonnaise.

Mink Chocolates

If there’s one place you can count on for consistent, quality chocolate fondue, it’s Mink Chocolates. Besides crafting award-winning bonbons, its fondue menu is also a highlight. Both milk and dark chocolate pots are available (including a dairy-free dark chocolate), and served with a selection of fruits, pastries, and confections. Diners can also opt for s’mores, where a hibachi (Japanese heating device) is used for melting marshmallows.

Image courtesy of Mink Chocolates.

If you prefer to enjoy fondue at home, Mink also offers personal fondue pot kits. They are simple enough to use: just add water to the main base and chocolate ganache to the top bowl, then light the candle underneath. At this rate, chocolate fondue for dessert every night seems feasible.

La Mezcaleria

Cheese fondue originally hails from Switzerland, but this local Mexican eatery has put its own twist on the popular dish. Quesos Fundidos are one of La Mezcaleria’s fan-favourite items, which includes molten cheese fondue served in a volcanic stone bowl and paired with hot corn tortillas. Various flavours are available, such as fresh green tomatillo salsa, housemade Mexican chorizo, and more.

Image courtesy of La Mezcaleria.

A smaller, individual size can also be found on its happy hour menu.

Burgoo

For those looking for a simple but hearty fondue experience, this cozy bistro that specializes in comfort food could be your next destination. Two fondues are available on its menu under starters: the Fonduemental (with Gruyère, Emmenthal, and kirsch) served with apple slices, grapes, and crusty bread; and the brie fondue with roasted garlic, honey, and white wine. In our humble opinion, fondue is comfort food at its best.

Image courtesy of Burgoo.

Make Your Own Fondue at Home

Melting cheese and chocolate in a pot is not as simple as it sounds, but with the right ingredients and fondue accessories, you may find yourself digging into these meals every week. Les Amis Du Fromage is a specialty cheese shop with a wide selection of cheeses, including fondue blends. The team will weigh, trim, and grate the cheese for customers, making it even easier to prepare at home. There’s even a helpful Fondue FAQ on its website.

Image courtesy of Les Amis Du Fromage.

Quality chocolates and fondue sets can also be found at the Gourmet Warehouse, a cookware emporium with everything a foodie could want. Even homeware chains such as  the Bay, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Canadian Tire carry fondue pots, from electric to candle-lit.


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January 25, 2021