Fondue is a method of melting cheese with wine or cognac or brandy served communally from a ceramic pot warmed from below and enjoyed by dipping bread at the end of long forks into the cheese and eating it. The Swiss often get the credit for innovating this dish in the 18th century.
During the 20th century, especially the 1960s and ’70s, American fondue parties became especially popular. Just about every home had a ceramic pot in one of various colors. Many were electric, with six or eight long forks each with a colored handle or tip; no two alike. Americans invented the chocolate fondue, a dessert served in the same manner as the cheese fondue.
By the late 1970s fondue parties fell out of vogue, though they made a comeback in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Although fondue became a social way of serving a food in this country, originally it was a way to make use of hardened cheeses and stale breads during the winter months. Americans use a variety of cheeses...
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