Another Excuse to Eat Chocolate

Did you know that there’s a food “holiday” almost every day of the year? Yep, and today is National Chocolate Fondue Day. (Apparently it’s also World Nutella Day, but that holiday is getting plenty of coverage elsewhere. I thought National Chocolate Fondue Day deserved some love here.) It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good chocolate fondue, which got me thinking… why not pull out the fondue pot and “celebrate”?!

A bit retro and messy, chocolate fondue is an easy dessert to make and fun to eat. By the way, if you’re a word geek, “fondue” is the past participle of the French word “fondre” (to melt). That’s right, “chocolate fondue” is literally “melted chocolate.” Technically, it’s more of a chocolate ganache — an emulsion of chocolate and liquid. You don’t need any special equipment to make fondue — although it’s a good opportunity to use that fondue pot you stashed in the closet and only pull out once every three years.

I have a really nice fondue set thingy that consists of a non-stick saucepan and a wire frame that holds the saucepan above a sterno holder. I’ve found it much easier to take the saucepan out of the frame, make the fondue in the saucepan on the stovetop, then put it back on the wire frame (over the sterno holder) for presentation at the table. But there’s no need to get fancy. A rubber spatula and a non-stick saucepan are really all you need to make fondue.

Ok, saucepan? Check. Rubber spatula? Check. That just left the most important question: what kind of chocolate fondue would I make? A quick look in my fridge was all the inspiration I needed for today’s chocolate fondue: oranges, everywhere. I have a backlog of satsuma mandarins, so that pretty much said it all: Dark Chocolate Orange Fondue. The version I ended up making was adapted from The Fondue Cookbook, but I made modifications based on what was in my pantry.

ingredients for brandied dark chocolate orange fondue
Ingredients from upper left: fresh-squeezed mandarin juice, Pisco (brandy), chopped chocolate, mandarin zest, heavy cream


  • Non-stick saucepan (1qt or 2qt)
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Zester

6 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped
2 oz. milk chocolate (40% cacao, sometimes called “dark milk chocolate”), finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed mandarin orange juice
1 tsp mandarin orange zest
1 1/2 tbs Pisco (clear Peruvian brandy)

How to:

  1. Combine the chocolates and orange juice in the saucepan, and place on the stovetop over low heat.
  2. Stir until the chocolates have melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. While continuing to stir, slowly pour in the cream, combining it with the chocolate mixture.
  4. Continuing to stir, slowly pour in the Pisco, then add the orange zest.
  5. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove top.
  6. Transfer to a fondue pot or bowl, if you like. Serve with sweet dippers, such as cookies, cake cubes, or fruit. Note: If you’ll be dipping directly into the saucepan in which you prepared the fondue, allow the fondue to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Chocolate Orange Fondue
Dark Chocolate Orange-Pisco Fondue

The fondue is not very sweet (I’d call it an “adult” fondue), which makes it a good complement for sweeter dippers. I used spiced pound cake cubes and mandarin wedges for dipping — like I said, my fridge runneth over with oranges of all varieties.  Marshmallows, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, or really ripe strawberries would be nice additions as well.

What did you make to celebrate Chocolate Fondue Day?

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