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Before fondue parties became all the rage in the fifties, sixties and seventies, fondue had a reputation as a complicated and almost exotic meal from Europe, served only in expensive restaurants. Yet fondues are an extremely versatile dish, and are surprisingly simple to make if all of the ingredients are on-hand. It's also a dish that's meant to be shared with others, which makes it an obvious choice to be served at your next party.
If winter has graced your area, it's the perfect time to fire up the fondue pot. Invite a few friends or a special someone to enjoy some fondue chez vous. It can be a large or small gathering, a late Sunday afternoon lunch with the girls, or a funky party event on a Friday night. Organize your own fondue party and you'll be so hip you'll be the envy of all your friends, who'll wonder why they hadn't thought of it sooner when it's this easy and this fun.
While the traditional pairing of cheeses is delicious, you can incorporate some of your own favorite cheeses instead, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Add different wines and liqueurs, or even use vegetables as an ingredient rather than a dipper, and watch the fondue evolve into a completely different dish. And there's no need to let your culinary imagination stop there -- fondue is one of the few dishes, if not the only, where you can change all of its ingredients and still call it a fondue. Substitute hot oil for the cheese, provide some beef chunks for dipping, and have yourself a beef fondue, also known as fondue bourguignionne. Or transform it once again into a chocolate lover's dream, and serve melted chocolate and fruit chunks as a dessert fondue. By swapping a few ingredients, you can create a new world of flavor without changing much of the preparation.
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