In the 1970s I lived in Westport, Connecticut and my best friend’s aunt owned a fondue restaurant. It was the hot spot in town for people to go on dates and it all seemed terribly sophisticated and romantic to my 13 year old self. I have to admit I’m a little disappointed to have missed the era when everyone got a fondue pot, or two, as a wedding gift. By the time I got married in the 90s, chocolate fondue seemed dated and reminded us too much of our parents. Luckily, most things that are worthwhile enjoy a comeback and I predict that fondue is on its way. Traditionally, fondue was nothing more than melted chocolate that was kept warm in a pot called a Caquelon, which was set over a sterno or other source of fire. My version is a ganache, which is thick enough to cling to the variety of treats dipped into it, but thin enough to stay liquid without the fire. I poured the ganache into individual ramekins so each person has their own “pot” of chocolate to dip into. You can set out an assortment of cakes, cookies, meringues, fresh and dried fruits for a larger party or a romantic Valentine’s Day with someone special.
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy, coffee or flavored simple syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat to a gently simmer. Remove from heat and add the brandy and chopped chocolate. Swirl the cream so that the chocolate is covered. Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
Gently stir until completely smooth and serve immediately.
For a larger party, set out a variety of treats to dip into the chocolate. I used 3-inch cocktail skewers to do the dipping. Fill 4 or 6-ounce ramekins with the warm ganache.
If it is just a party of two, then set up a smaller selection of dip-able treats with one larger pot of chocolate in the middle.
Happy Valentine’s Day!