Chocolate fondue is a natural for Valentine’s Day, and for good reason: Dipping luxurious foods in molten chocolate is delicious and, let’s face it, pretty sensual. It’s fine to serve the usual fondue contenders—strawberries, bananas, cookies, graham crackers, cubes of angel food cake—but consider adding some more interesting options too, to hit that sweet-salty spot, provide some piquancy, or marry some interesting textural contrasts (opposites attract, after all). Here are some deliciously intriguing ideas for what to dip in chocolate fondue.
Cuisinart Cast-Iron Swiss Fondue Set, $49.95 on Amazon
This will serve nicely for a small group, or just a couple.
Pro-Tip: If you don’t have a fondue pot, just make a batch of thin ganache and use it while it’s warm.
Chocolate-covered bacon is a beautiful thing, but it takes a little time to make, what with the coating on all sides and the letting it set. Why not just cook it to crisp perfection, drain it, and dip it straight into a pot of molten chocolate? Sweet-salty seduction.
Make ’em in any flavor your heart desires (infused with booze, even), then cut them into dainty little cubes for spearing on your fondue forks and dipping into your pool of chocolate…you really can’t go wrong. (And you can make them vegan and gluten-free too.) Try this fetchingly festive Berry Marshmallow Crispy Treats recipe.
Alternatively, skip the rice cereal and just go straight for pillowy-soft, chewy marshmallows—which maybe aren’t that much of a novelty when it comes to dunking in chocolate, but can be if you opt for different flavors, like matcha marshmallows, bourbon marshmallows, or salted caramel marshmallows. Or put a boozy twist on both parts of the equation and make the Lambic Marshmallows with Chocolate Stout Fondue recipe pictured above.
Rose Gold Rose Marshmallows, 12 for $19.95 on Etsy
Made with pink wine and topped with edible glitter, these are also pretty perfect for V-Day.
4. Potato Chips
Same basic principle as bacon, but suitable for vegetarians too—and less work all around (well, unless you make your own, but any nice, thick, kettle-style chip from the store will do just fine). Salted pretzels are an equally excellent choice.
Sanders Dark Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, $8.53 on Amazon
No fondue pot? Try these chocolate-covered chips.
While not so salty, another savory and super-crunchy option is grissini, those long, thin Italian bread sticks often sprinkled with sesame seeds; the pairing of them with fondue hearkens back to the traditional Catalan pairing of dark chocolate with olive oil and toast. Get the Thin and Crispy Sesame Seed Breadsticks recipe.
With two boozy layers (representing both white and dark rum), plus chopped maraschino cherries and passion fruit juice, these are bursting with flavors that would complement dark chocolate, and they’d provide an interesting texture and temperature contrast too. For something simpler and non-alcoholic, try coffee gelatin, or various fruit flavors like raspberry or strawberry. Get all our Grown-Up Jelly Shot recipes.
Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries, 2 jars for $29.94 on Amazon
Upgrade from the neon-red maraschinos you'd fish from a well drink to these lush, dark, Italian imports.
7. Cake Balls
Basically, you’re making cake pops, but instead of coating them all in chocolate at once and letting them set (let alone impaling them on their own individual sticks), you’re leaving them naked and dipping each one as you eat it. The Chowhound community is fond of this no-bake rum balls recipe made with Oreo cookies, and we wouldn’t turn ’em down either, that’s for sure. But to minimize the risk of getting crumbs in your fondue pot, make sure your cake balls are nice and firm—the initial crumbled cake and frosting mixture should hold together well, and then you should chill them for at least a couple hours. Chocolate on chocolate is always a good option, but red velvet cake is also especially appropriate for the occasion. (Or you could dip energy balls, for a relatively healthier option!) Get the Red Velvet Cake Balls recipe.
Chewy, bright, and sweet-tart, candied citrus is a way more exiting fondue partner than pound cake and strawberries. You can just use the peels (like in our Candied Grapefruit Zest recipe), or do whole slices; try oranges, tangerines, or Meyer lemons. (For a similar, fresher option, try whole kumquats too, the sweet-outside, bitter-and-tart-within fruity gems that provide juicy pops of flavor.) Candied citrus often has a sandy sugar coating that can come off in your fondue, so you may want to go with a recipe like the one pictured above, where the fruit is cooked in a sugar syrup that dries into a smooth glaze. Get the Candied Citrus recipe.
Similar to candied citrus, but for those who like things a little spicy. Fresh crystallized ginger should have a nice soft chew, more gumdrop than taffy. Look for it in the bulk section of your grocery store, where you can often find it in larger cubes and slivers ideal for dipping.
10. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit options like mango slices, apricots, pineapples, regular apples, and papaya can make interesting additions to your array of fondue dippers, though some are harder to spear than others. Get the Simple Homemade Dried Fruit recipe.
This tahini-based confection has a deep, complex flavor that is dynamite with chocolate, and the slightly crumbly, fudge-like texture against the silky-smooth fondue…well, um, is it getting hot in here? You can buy halvah ready-made, or try your hand at a Homemade Halvah recipe.
Russ & Daughters Marble Halvah, $10/pound on Goldbelly
Get this dark chocolate-marbled halvah delivered to you straight from one of New York's best delis.
Related Video: How to Make a Valentine’s Day Cocktail with Kombucha
David Pistrang wrote the original version of this post in 2013; it was updated by Jen Wheeler with new links, text, and images.
Header image by Chowhound.