Fondues were huge in the 70s and this communal experience has again emerged as a great retro dinner party idea. If you've never experienced a fondue with your friends or family I highly recommend it.. it's different and it's fun but there are some etiquette tips you should be made aware of and these are highlighted below. You will need a pot and these are easily purchased from a home store. These will come with instructions of how to melt the cheese properly (remember to use Swiss cheese).
You can also purchase inexpensive small pots for a chocolate fondue in which you can dip lovely morsels of fruit. You'll also need long fondue forks.
I found this great description from Wikipedia:
"Fondue refers to several Swiss communal dishes shared at the table in an earthenware pot ("caquelon") over a small burner ("rechaud"). The term "fondue" comes from the French "fondre" ("to melt"), referring to the fact that the contents of the pot are kept in a liquid state so that diners can use forks to dip into the sauce. The sauce is usually warmed either by a separate burner containing an alcohol-based fuel or simply by tealights. Though cheese fondues are the best known kind, there are several other possibilities for the contents of the pot and what is used for dipping.
As with other communal dishes, fondue has etiquette standards ranging from practical to amusing. Some people consider it rude to allow one's lips or tongue to touch the fondue fork, and with meat fondues one should use a dinner fork to remove the meat from the dipping utensil. The "no double-dipping" rule applies here as well: once a taste has been taken of a dipped morsel it should not be returned to the pot. If the bread or fruit is lost in the cheese or chocolate, it is tradition for that person to buy a round of drinks or to be punished in another way.
Originally Swiss, Fondue became very popular in the United States in the 1970s."
And as I say, fondues are back. Stay tuned for some more dinner party ideas soon.
In the meantime check out this Cuisinart electric fondue maker:
The fun of fondue gets a sleek and convenient makeover with this Cuisinart electric fondue maker. Designed for use with oil, broth, chocolate, or cheese, the set combines powerful electric heat with easy temperature control and handsome but tidy construction.
The 3-quart stainless-steel bowl is lined with nonstick coating for keeping heated foods from sticking, and the stand, bowl, ring, and temperature probe all assemble and disassemble easily. A combination of finishes--brushed on the bowl and ring, mirror on the stand and handles—gives the unit a contemporary flair. Heat up is efficient here--getting oil to 375 degrees F takes between 10 and 15 minutes.
Best of all, you can change the temperature setting with a simple turn of the dial to adjust for different ingredients or the passage of time. For clean up, run the entire set (temperature probe and cord removed, of course) through the dishwasher. A set of eight color-coded fondue forks is also included. Fully assembled, the fondue maker stands 6-1/4 inches high; the bowl is 8-1/4 inches in diameter at the opening. --Emily Bedard
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