Right up there with paisley shirts and slow cookers, fondue burst onto the scene in the 1970s. And, just like paisley and slow cookers, it's back. The original fondue chain restaurants are long gone, but new ones have opened in their place. The menus remain pretty much the same; only the prices have changed.
Disastrous attempts at home fondue parties are a thing of the past. Version 1.0 fondue parties featured sad attempts at homemade fondue. It required a Herculean effort just to score the Swiss cheeses -- Emmental and Gruyere, and when you did, there was the problem of getting the glop in the pot to transform into anything resembling fondue.
Today, perfect cheese fondue is as close as your pantry or refrigerator. Unlike most packaged products, boxed fondue is the genuine article -- imported from Switzerland, premixed with Emmental, Gruyere and wine -- all typically for less than $10. Warm it on the stovetop for a few minutes and transfer to a fondue pot to create restaurant-quality cheese fondue. To dress it up, rub fresh garlic around the pot before adding the mix and stir in a pinch of nutmeg while heating. Slice a crusty loaf of bread, some apples or pears and a few vegetables, and you've got a dinner party for four in just a few minutes from box to table, with only one pot to clean, leaving plenty of free time for an evening of Twister.