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Woohoo, Fondue!
By Melissa Meisel

Intro | Set Up | Cheese, Please | Chocolate Fun-do

Fondue is a fun 'do' this season. Cozy up around a pot of bubbling love with family and friends. Once a popular dish for dinner parties in the seventies, fondue is back in a big way for the millennium. User-friendly and festive, fondue is multi-faceted in the option of cooking up chocolate or cheese, satisfying cravings for sweet or salty tastes. And, it’s a perfect compliment to a robust wine.

Fond memories

There are three main types of fondue: melted cheese, melted chocolate, and an Asian hotpot-type where meat is cooked in oil or broth. According to About.com, Fondue originated in Switzerland as a way of using up hardened cheese. Deriving from the French verb fondre, meaning "to melt," fondue was a classic peasant dish. Accounts vary on how fondue was originally created. Traditional fondue is made with a mixture of Emmenthaler and/or Gruyere cheese and wine, melted in a communal pot. Cherry brandy is added to the melted mixture, which becomes a dip for pieces of stale bread and crusts. French chef/scribe Brillat-Savarin mentioned fondue in his 19th century writings, but fondue really hit its heyday in 1956, when Chef Konrad Egli of New York's Chalet Swiss Restaurant introduced a fondue method of cooking meat cubes in hot oil. Chocolate fondue followed in 1964.

Bright Idea: A new fondue restaurant called Melting Pot is peppered across the States. See if there's one by you.

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