Fondue forks are kind of stuck in a bubble of ‘70s pop culture. Even when they’re not accompanied by platforms and flower power, they’re typically constrained to a very particular setting (that would be, one in which a pot of fondue is involved), and even then bound to a whole slew of rules and etiquette (Do not touch to your lips or mouth, swirl in fondue pot and drip off extra, hold your plate underneath, switch to your dining fork if you fondued a piece of meat, etc.)
However, I encourage you to release them from the confines of “retro” teasing and ridicule. These little guys are a lot more useful than you might think.
I discovered one of their alternative uses this week while chocolate-dipping strawberries. Pushed through at the top on either side of the stem, they’re perfect for submerging the whole berry without getting its pretty green leaves dirtied or having to pierce through the flesh. This goes for dipping or coating anything small enough for the fondue fork’s little prongs.
They also work really nicely to remove the meat from crawfish, crab, or lobster shells in the absence of special seafood forks.
And they’re great for charming presentation. Whether you’re snapping a photo or serving guests, give the toothpick a little upgrade and use them for cheese cubes, salami slices, cocktail shrimp, or even roasting marshmallows.
Fondue forks generally range from about seven to nine inches in length, and many have distinguishing features within each set (like multi-colored handles) so guests can keep track of which one is theirs. Most are two-pronged; some have three.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a market for expensive, designer fondue forks (I’m talking $350+ for a set), as well as a bunch of highly stylized, amusingly modern-looking ones. If that’s your thing, go with it.