What We Like
Traditional Swiss aesthetic
Works well with cheese, chocolate, and broth/oil
Retains heat well
Easy to clean
Three-pronged forks provide extra grip
What We Don't Like
Only six fondue forks included
Forks are not color-coded
No splatter guard/fork rest
Fuel must be bought separately
Fondue is a traditional Swiss dish that originated in the Alps in the 1800s. While it was first an economical way for peasants to make the most of their cheese and bread, it became a dining fad in America in the 1960s and 70s. History aside, communal fondue meals are fun and easy to prepare with a dedicated fondue set. The Swissmar Lugano Fondue Set offers rustic charm, but how well does it handle a classic cheese fondue? Keep reading to learn about our experience.
Performance: Makes tableside cooking fun
We used the Lugano fondue set to prepare a classic cheese fondue using white wine, lemon juice, and a blend of shredded Swiss and gruyere cheeses. We chose to prepare our cheese fondue directly in the fondue pot, rather than on the stove. We set the pot up over the burner dish which we filled with gel fuel (purchased separately). It took close to a half-hour to cook our cheese fondue to desired consistency, but we didn’t mind the wait. We liked the charm of cooking tableside and the longer cooking time was due to the less powerful heat source we chose—not the actual fondue set.
We like how the burner cup sits elevated in the rechaud so the heat source is kept away from the table surface.
If you’re in a hurry and want to prep fondue faster, you can also place the fondue pot directly on a stovetop or cook your cheese in a saucepan and then transfer it to the fondue pot. Just make sure you keep the pot perched on the renaud (AKA stand) so you can turn the gel burner up/down as necessary.
Design: Rustic, charming, and durable
We simply love the rustic aesthetic of this fondue set. The pot is available in a variety of colors—including deep blue, cherry, and black—and the rechaud is made of wrought iron with an appealing patina.
The fondue pot has a 2-quart capacity, which can hold enough fondue to feed four to six people. It’s also an extremely versatile pot even when not being used for fondue as it’s safe to use on the stovetop and in the oven (up to 500 degrees). The pot features a long handle so it can easily be transferred from the stove to table with the aid of pot holders or a kitchen towel.
We simply love the rustic aesthetic of this fondue set.
The one-piece, decorative rechaud felt sturdy, so we never worried about having a hot cast iron pot or open flame on our dining room table. We like how the burner cup sits elevated in the rechaud so the heat source is kept away from the table surface.
Everyone at our dinner party agreed that the forks included in this set are the best we’ve ever used. They’re extra-long, three-pronged (most fondue forks have two prongs), and topped off with a wooden handle. We had no issue piercing everything from soft cubes of bread to firm slices of apple and the extra stability meant our morsels were never lost in the pot.
Heating Capacity: Cast iron is up for the challenge
Cast iron cookware is known for its excellent heat retention and even cooking abilities, and the enameled cast iron pot of the Swissmar Lugano fondue set lived up to expectations. It heated quickly and stayed hot when set over the rechaud’s burner. Our cheese fondue did end up having a small, burnt spot in the center of the pot (where it was positioned directly over the flame) but we caught it before it burned too badly and the enameled coating helped the cheese slide right out of the pot.
Cleaning: Hand wash only
Although cast iron is very durable, it requires proper care to ensure its longevity. Like most cast iron cookware, the Swissmar fondue pot needs to be washed by hand. It’s not recommended to place cast iron cookware in the dishwasher since it can rust. Luckily, the enameled interior of this fondue set proved easy to clean by hand.
After making cheese fondue, we had some burnt cheese stuck to the bottom of the pot and worried we’d have a mess to scrub. We found a quick soak in hot, soapy water and then a few swipes with a soft sponge easily removed the burnt cheese and remaining residue. After washing it, we immediately dried the pot to prevent the uncoated cast iron rim from rusting.
Price: On the high end, but worth every penny
The Swissmar Lugano Fondue set is priced around $100, making it something of an investment piece for your kitchen. The pot is extremely durable and versatile, though, and if you take proper care of it, it’ll last you a lifetime.
Swissmar Lugano Fondue Set vs. VonShef Fondue Set
Priced around $50, the VonShef is another enameled cast iron fondue set that offers just as much rustic charm as the Swissmar Lugano. It comes with six color-coded fondue forks, a matching enameled cast iron splatter guard/fork rest, cast iron stand, metal plate that fits under the stand, and an adjustable burner with a snuffer.
The VonShef pot has a smaller capacity at 1.6 quarts, but it’s also half the price of the Swissmar. We found the design and setup of the VonShef to be ideal for smaller dinner parties and fondue for two. The Swissmar is better for letting multiple people dip at once and would be the better choice for large parties.
As for design, the VonShef is only available in red. Both pots are versatile and can go from stove to fondue stand, but the Swissmar’s design is easier to grip and transfer. The VonShef pot has two small side handles vs. the Swissmar’s traditional pot handle.
- Product Name Lugano Cast Iron Fondue Set
- Product Brand Swissmar
- SKU KF-66518
- Price $99.99
- Weight 10.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 8.2 x 7 x 7 in.
- Material Enameled cast iron pot, wrought iron rechaud
- Capacity 2 QT
- Warranty 1-year limited
- What’s Included Fondue pot, rechaud, burner, six fondue forks