So, you've read our Cheesemonger's guide to making fondue, and now you're craving a pot of melted cheese, wine, and spices, served with big hunks of bread. Yep, same here. Now all you need is the proper pot. Guess what? They're kind of expensive. And it seems silly to spend $150 on a specialty item you use only a few times a year. So we found a few that are under $100 (yes, we know that's still not cheap), based on a few criteria...
If you're going to buy a fondue set, it's worth having one that can handle chocolate and cheese. You'll find plenty on the market that come with a candle as the heat source; that may be fine for a few ounces of chocolate, but it may not keep a cheese mixture at a dip-able consistency.
We skipped the cutesy ones with the tea lights as well as the All-Clad and Le Creuset models (pretty, but pricey). We like the idea of an electric fondue set (see the Cuisinart and Rival models), since you don't have to mess around with Sterno fuel.
1. Cuisinart Electric Fondue Set, $60 at Macy's
2. Rival Stainless Steel Fondue Pot, $29.99 from Amazon
3. Bodum Fondue Set, $79.95 at Crate and Barrel
4. Rachael Ray Fondue Set, $59.99 from the Food Network
5. Swissmar Lugano 9-piece fondue set, $79.99 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond
6. Trudeau Lazy Susan Fondue Set, $25.99 from Amazon
But don't forget: a fondue pot is the quintessential garage sale or thrift store buy. If you can find one of these good picks at a stoop sale, so much the better! (Or trade your extra Crock-Pot to a recently married friend for one of these... that would work too.)