Wednesday 23 April 2014


The Caquelon

My Caquelon

The art of cooking, serving and eating Fondue can be both fun and entertaining. The wonderful utensil used for it is universally referred to as the 'fondue pot'. However its given name is The Caquelon! ( Pronounced Kach-k-Lawn or Kakelun.) The word being derived from the German word Kachel which means a ceramic tile and Kachelofon a type of energy-efficient tile stove found in the region.

First manufactured in the 18th century the caquelon is generally made from heavy materials and has thick walls to prevent the cheese from burning while cooking and standing on a constant flame while it is being eaten at leisure. It can be anything from glazed ceramic, earthenware, enamel  and cast iron. It remains a unique cooking vessel. 

Fondue is the national dish of Switzerland, a speciality many enjoy around the world  allowing the Caquelon to be the focal centre of attention! It is most popular in the Comte and Provence regions of France besides the Swiss Cantons. The recipe is  prepared from two Swiss Cheeses; Gruyere and Emmental.  A white wine, sometimes mixed with a teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken easily,  and Kirsch are added. The little secret of rubbing a fresh clove of garlic in the fondue pot before starting makes to mark perfection. Many add freshly grated nutmeg to finish it off. The meal is not complete until La Religieuse (literally meaning a nun but generally referred to as a grandmother from the Swiss-German origins of grossmutter) is formed and eaten; this a thin crusty layer of  the remains of the cheese fondue which is always squabbled upon by the kids.

However it is not just the ingredients that makes this dish perfect but the art of serving it that completes the real experience. Another part of a caquelon is its metal stand. The metal stand keeps the pot raised and has a small flame burner beneath nestled within to keep the fondue hot and to stop it from becoming a lump of cheese! Called a rechaud, the small metal container with the flame holds a gel or alcohol to burn. The amount of heat the caquelon receives is often controlled by a sliding lid that exposes more or less of the flame coming from the rechaud.

To eat this deliciously ooye goooyee melted cheese one needs small cubes of bread, toasted or fresh baguettes, which are placed on the end of long forks,  gently dipped into the cheese inside of the caquelon, they come out completely coated and eaten. Every morsel is enjoyed with a glass of chilled fruity white wine!
Beef fondue also called fondue bourguignonne, chocolate fondue and fondue chinoise (similar to chinese hot pot) are other available variations.

 My simply delicious baked cheese fondue for a crowd.

My simple and delicious way of making a baked fondue is available in my e-cookbook for you to try. Click

Niloufer's Kitchen: Winter

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