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Drive-Thru Gourmet: IHOP introduces Nutella takeoff on fondue, but no double dipping!

Drive-Thru Gourmet: IHOP debuts Nutella fondue, but no double dipping!

IHOP Fundue
IHOP Fundue consists of five hot-off-the-griddle silver dollar buttermilk pancakes served with fresh strawberries, sliced bananas, and yummy Nutella. Courtesy of IHOP

This week I reached out for Fundue, a punny take on traditional Swedish fondue, at America’s sprawling, 24-hour breakfast barn, IHOP, with 1,650 restaurants dotting all 50 states.

Think fondue … with pancakes instead of bread cubes. And Nutella instead of cheese. This could cause an international incident – good thing we’re at the International House of Pancakes.  

Here’s the Fundue breakdown: Five hot-off-the-griddle silver dollar buttermilk pancakes served with fresh strawberries, sliced bananas, and yummy Nutella.

Total calories: 710. Fat grams: 29. Sodium: 930 mg. Carbs: 101 g. Dietary fiber: 8 g. Protein: 14 g. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $4.99.

What could wrong here? Everybody loves IHOP’s iconic buttermilk pancakes. They’re perfect when you want to eat 500 of something. Fresh berries and ‘nanas are always ripe and delicious in summer. And Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread is the ultimate diet buster.

Then IHOP had to raise a danger flag. They’re calling Fundue “the perfect breakfast starter or shareable dish.”

Shareable? IHOP is taking this fondue thing a little too far. That’s all I need, other people sticking their half-bitten silver dollar pancakes, typically found on the children’s menu, into MY Nutella. The risk of double-dipping is sky-high, especially with kids and their grimy, dirty fingers involved.

Nope, I’m calling Fundue a breakfast appetizer – for one. You want to try “just a taste?” I’ll order another Fundue for you. And remember that rule when we’re in the McDonald’s drive-thru – you’re not getting any of my fries.

With the threat of double-dipping removed, let’s get down to business. Fundue is pretty darn tasty stuff. IHOP’s silver dollar pancakes are about three inches wide, so five is the perfect number to get you prepared for IHOP’s weightier breakfast dishes.

The berries and bananas were indeed fresh and juicy. I wrapped my pancakes around the fruit and jammed them into the Nutella. The thing is, I would eat a Chuck Taylor basketball shoe if it were dipped into Nutella.

If I made this dish at home, I’d probably skip the pancakes and fruit and just stick my finger into the Nutella jar and lick it empty. I call that fondue – when no one’s looking.

Fundue is part of IHOP’s new “Fresh Market” summer menu, featuring strawberries, blueberries, and bananas tossed on warm vanilla-dipped brioche French toast or sweet cream stuffed crepes. Of course, IHOP is nothing if not flexible. You can ask for fresh fruit on top of anything on the menu.

The fruity Fresh Market menu goes into hibernation on July 30, which is early for calling it quits on summer.

Ken Hoffman can be reached at ken@culturemap.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.  To have all CultureMap stories, including Ken's weekly Drive-Thru Gourmet column, delivered to your inbox in one Daily Digest every morning, sign up here.