What We Like
Versatile double boiler insert
Fondue forks are color-coded
Splatter guard included
Can make fondue for six
What We Don't Like
Mirrored finish attracts fingerprints and water spots
Very short electrical cord
Manufacturer recommends cooking fondue on stovetop
If you think of cheese and chocolate when you think of fondue, you’re not alone! Although fondue also includes broth- and oil-based recipes, dippable cheese and chocolate are easily the most popular and well-recognized types of fondue. Trudeau’s Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set makes prepping your favorite fondue as easy as plugging into an electrical outlet. This set features a luxe, polished stainless steel finish and comes with a stoneware insert for double boiler functionality. With a retail price of $100, it’s a more expensive electric option, but could it worth the high price? We pulled out our favorite cheeses to see.
Performance: Like a glorified (yet very hot) warming dish
Per the manufacturer's instructions, we prepared our beer and sharp cheddar cheese fondue in a separate pot on the stovetop before transferring to the fondue set equipped with the stoneware insert as a double boiler. To be honest, we were pretty disappointed by having to do this—especially as it meant dirtying another dish.
After adding a ¼ cup of water to heat the double boiler, it took only two or three minutes to simmer.
It’s not recommended to cook most fondue recipes in the actual pot of the Trudeau set, probably because melted cheese and chocolate will stick and scorch in the stainless steel pot. Instead, we set up the fondue set to function as a double boiler, adding a ¼ cup of water to the stainless steel fondue pot, bringing it to a simmer over medium heat, and placing the stoneware bowl on top. We then transferred our melted cheese fondue to the pot set up on our dining table for keeping warm and serving.
Because we had to cook our fondue on the stovetop first, the set felt more like a fancy slow cooker or glorified warming dish. We also noticed a burnt odor the first time we turned the set on to heat up, but hopefully, the smell with dissipate with more use. That said, the set did its job well; our cheese fondue stayed warm, smooth, and dippable over the course of our meal.
Design: Sleek and elegant
The shiny, polished finish of the stainless steel is certainly lovely and the pot is easy to set up with a magnetic attachment for the electrical cord. However, the cord is very short—just 1 foot in length—and will necessitate the use of an extension cord on most dining surfaces.
Six color-coded, stainless steel fondue forks are included in the box, along with a stainless steel fork ring/splatter guard. We found the pot’s 1.5-quart capacity to be the perfect size for feeding three to four people, but it could easily feed up to six when filled.
The temperature dial requires estimating the setting, since it’s unmarked other than “minimum” and “maximum.” We also had to keep an eye on our pot to make sure the water bath didn’t evaporate too quickly. The stoneware insert prevented us from seeing how much water remained in the stainless steel pot, so there was a bit of guessing involved.
Heating Capacity: Whether pot or double boiler, heating is fast and even
The pot is made entirely of stainless steel while the double boiler insert is ceramic stoneware.
For cheese and chocolate fondue, it’s best to use this set as a double boiler with the included stoneware insert to keep heating and cleanup easy. We found the pot heated quickly; after adding a ¼ cup of water to heat the double boiler, it took only two or three minutes to simmer.
We found a medium-low heat setting was best for keeping our cheese fondue a dippable consistency without producing excessive steam from the water bath. Any higher of a heat setting and the water will evaporate faster than you can finish eating.
Cleaning: Spots and smudges are hard to avoid
The manufacturer recommends washing this set by hand, rather than in a dishwasher. We found the pot and insert cleaned up in the sink as easily as any other stainless steel or stoneware cookware. The only catch here is the mirrored stainless steel finish attracts fingerprints and water spots that took some serious polishing to remove. Drying the set by hand instead of allowing it to air dry should help keep the finish shiny and smudge-free.
The mirrored stainless steel finish attracts fingerprints and water spots that took some serious polishing to remove.
Price: Luxe looks will cost you
Trudeau’s Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set retails for $100, but if you shop around, you can find it for as low as $65. Most similarly constructed, stainless steel electric fondue sets are priced between $30 and $50, making the Trudeau one of the more expensive options. The polished stainless steel finish certainly looks luxe, but this set’s features and performance don’t stand out from the more affordable competition.
Trudeau Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set vs. Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker
With an MSRP of roughly $60, Cuisinart’s electric fondue set is a more affordable option. Like the Trudeau, the Cuisinart 3-quart fondue pot is made of stainless steel but it also features a nonstick interior for extremely easy cleanup. The nonstick coating allows you to prepare notoriously easy-to-scald cheese and chocolate fondue right in the pot. With the Trudeau, it’s recommended to use the fondue set as a double boiler for cheese and chocolate. These fondues should be prepared in a separate pot on a stovetop before transferring to the included stoneware insert. If you follow these guidelines and use the Trudeau as a double boiler, it’s essentially non-stick for cheese and chocolate.
The Cuisinart set is better for feeding a crowd, since it’s bigger in capacity and includes eight color-coded fondue forks, whereas the Trudeau only comes with six. The Trudeau set can be used to serve a multi-course fondue meal, though, so long as you utilize the stoneware insert for a beginning cheese course and then use the stainless steel pot for cooking oil or broth.
Both sets heat equally as fast and do an excellent job of maintaining temperature while you enjoy your meal. The choice here comes down to how much fondue you’ll be making, your comfort level with nonstick cookware, and your style preference.
- Product Name Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set
- Product Brand Trudeau
- MPN 0829020
- Price $99.95
- Weight 4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.5 x 11 x 9.5 in.
- Material Stainless steel
- Capacity 81 oz
- Wattage 1500 W
- Warranty 1-year limited
- What’s Included Fondue pot, heating base, stoneware insert, six fondue forks, fork rest, electrical cord