Over time, fondue became more popular and spread throughout Switzerland, with different regions developing their own variations. By the 1930s, it had become a symbol of Swiss culture and was promoted by the cheese industry as THE national dish of Switzerland. (Who would argue with that honor?!)
Enter the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where fondue was featured in the Swiss Pavilion. America was never the same. By the late 1960s, the dipping craze had taken off with the masses — helped along by the marketing of home fondue sets. Thus, becoming an extremely trendy party food in the US throughout the 1970s.
Although the treat’s popularity has waxed and waned over the years, it is still — and likely forever will be — enjoyed as a delicious communal meal that brings people together.
It’s fun to fondue: Vintage fondue recipes from 1969
From Ebony (October 1969)
The fondue is a cozy occasion. Everyone dips from the same sumptuous pot, and it is the one time when dunking is permissible even by those who adhere to all the social graces.
Originally the fondue was a cheese dish, one cooked with wine and served with bite-size pieces of bread dunked in the cheese mixture. Today, however, the fun-to-do dishes have meats, chocolates or vegetables as their main ingredients.
When preparing your favorite fondue recipe, you’ll need a flame-proof earthenware casserole, alcohol lamp or a chafing dish, long-handled forks for each guest and a wooden fork or wire whisk for stirring.
The tasty treats are a great icebreaker at parties, and adaptable across the menu from hors-d’oeuvres to dessert. And they are also excellent standing alone as a main course. The Swiss, who claim the dish as their contribution to the culinary arts, suggest a glass of kirsch or a dry white wine to top off this adventure in haute cuisine.
Fondue recipes: Chocolate, Asian & vegetable (1960s)
Chocolate fondue: Heat 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons kirsch, 2 large chocolate bars in a ceramic fondue pot (like these) over low heat. When the chocolate melts, add 1-inch slices of donuts, marshmallows, bananas on long fork and swirl into chocolate.
Oriental style: Combine 1 egg, 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup milk and 1-3/4 flour in large bowl. Heat in ceramic fondue pot at 350 degrees. Dip chicken wings, chicken livers, shrimp, green peppers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans and green onions into batter.
Vegetables for fondue: Beat 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream into 1/2 cup butter softened in double boiler; add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp red pepper, 6 chopped anchovies. Keep warm over low heat. Dip favorite vegetables and breadsticks into mixture.
Fondue recipes: Mini pizzas with beef & cheese
Mini-pizzas: Use pizza mix containing sausage with sauce, cheese and seasonings. Roll out dough. Use a pastry cutter for cutting circles. Put 1 teaspoon sauce on each. Moisten edge with egg white. Fold dough over and seal.
Fill pot 1/2 to 2/3 full with oil; heat to 350 degrees on stove. Place on stand over high flame and, using heavy bamboo skewers, cook everything until brown.
Beef fondue recipe: Cut sirloin or tenderloin steak into 1-inch cubes; fill pot 1/2 full, heat to boiling point. Set pot on stand with heat and maintain an even temperature. Spear a cube of meat with fondue fork and cook in hot oil to your own taste — rare, medium or well-done.
Cheese fondue recipe: Available in your market’s refrigerator section; also comes in cans. [Also see below.] Follow directions on package; use a ceramic pot or casserole, sprinkle in garlic. Season with pre-heated dry white wine and several tablespoons of kirsch. Spear 1-inch cuts of French or Italian bread into mixture. Keep warm and stir.
Lamb fondue recipe (1969)
Cook several portions of lamb in the simmering fat to keep the meal moving smoothly; serve with pilaf, chutney sauces, and cracker bread. Consider a wine such as Gamay Zinfandel.
Grow fond of fondue for a party with flavor & flair (1968)
By Pat Williams, Food Editor – The Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio) October 23, 1968
Fondues are for “dunking,” and that is the main reason for their growing popularity at parties.
The word fondue comes from “fondre” which means melted, and certainly both the cheese for cheese fondue and the chocolate for chocolate fondue are melted. Cubes of bread are then dipped into the former; cake and fruits in the latter.
But there is another classic fondue which belies the origin of its name — and that one is Fondue Bourguignonne or beef fondue. It is merely cubes of lean beef which are dunked into hot oil to cook, then dipped into a variety of accompaniments.
Fondues have one trait in common — “communal dunking.” Do-it-yourselfers gather around the fondue pot to dip, eat and exchange pleasantries.
Fondue is a great icebreaker for getting parties off to a good start. And now that America has discovered the fondue, it has adopted and adapted it as it did the pizza, the enchilada, the egg roll, and the many other good foreign dishes which have become universally popular here.
Here is a selection of fondue recipes, some traditional; some all-American. You can take your pick. The cheese and meat fondues can be used either as appetizers or as the main course.
The sweet fondues can be served as dessert, or as a unique change from the typical refreshments served at tea or coffee parties or even late evening snacks.
Tips & tricks
• Do not use pottery fondue pot for beef fondue. The heat of the oil is intense, and the vessel could break.
• Pottery is the best choice for cheese fondue, which needs a gentle even heat. If cheese overheats, it separates.
• Provide small plates for each person to hold his selection of condiments, fruits and cake and to catch stray drips as he dips or eats.
• Don’t throw away the brown crust which forms at the bottom of the cheese fondue pot. It is considered a delicacy.
• Bamboo skewers are excellent for beef fondue; wooden picks for dessert types. They are disposable.
• If fondue forks are used for beef fondue, transfer meat to another fork for eating; they get hot in the oil.
• Cut bread cubes for cheese fondue so there is some crust on each piece.
Fondue bourguignonne (Beef fondue recipe)
2 to 2-1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin
Melted butter and salad oil
Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes and refrigerate until shortly before serving. Pour equal amounts of butter and salad oil into a beef fondue pot or electric frying pan to a depth of about 1-1/2 inches. (Set the frying pan to about 425 degrees, which is just below the smoking point.)
To serve, arrange meat cubes, and small dishes of condiments and sauces on a large tray with the fondue pot in the center or nearby. Each guest spears a piece of meat on a fondue fork, or bamboo skewer and cooks it in the hot butter-oil mixture until cooked as desired — about 1 or 2 minutes. Then dip in desired sauces and condiments.
Condiments and sauces for dipping may include one or several of the following: Bearnaise sauce, chili sauce, tartar sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard sauce, teriyaki sauce, minced onion, sesame seeds, minced parsley, minced chives, pickle relish.
Classic cheese fondue – Fondue Neuchatel (1968)
Fabulous cheese fondue recipe, 60s-style
1 envelope (1-3/8 ounces) onion soup mix
2 cups apple juice
1 pound (4 cups) natural Swiss cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons flour
French bread or rye bread, cut into bite-size pieces
In medium saucepan, combine onion soup mix and apple juice; heat slowly. In medium bowl, combine shredded cheese with flour.
When juice begins to simmer, add a small portion of the floured cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is melted. Continue to add cheese gradually, stirring constantly, making sure each addition is melted. Serve and eat as other fondues.
Vintage orange dessert fondue recipe
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons Cointreau or Curacao
3 to 4 cups assorted fresh fruits (such as cubes of pineapple, peaches, whole strawberries, seedless grapes)
In a small pan, melt butter. Stir in cream, honey, sugar and marmalade. Bring to a full rolling boil, then cook about 1/2 minute longer.
Stir in liqueur and pour into fondue pan or warmer pan. Keep warm over candle or low heat.
To serve, surround with tray of small whole or cubed large fruits attractively arranged.
To eat, spear with small forks such as oyster forks, fondue forks or wooden picks. Have dessert or paper plates handy to catch the drips. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1960s chocolate fondue recipe
1 can (13-1/2 ounces) pineapple chunks
12 maraschino cherries with stems
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
Drain pineapple well on paper towels. Place with cherries and banana slices in a single layer in a waxed paper-lined shallow pan so that pieces do not touch. (Other chilled fruits like strawberries, raspberries, sliced kiwi and orange segments are also popular.) Stick food picks into pineapple and banana pieces. Place in freezer for 2 or more hours or until frozen solid.
Melt chocolate and shortening in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. To serve, pour hot sauce into chocolate fondue pot or small food warmer.
To eat, dip fruit into hot chocolate sauce. Remove, and then hold over the pot until coating hardens. The chocolate hardens almost immediately on the very cold fruit. Makes 4 servings.
Lemon dessert fondue recipe
1 package lemon chiffon cake mix
1 package lemon creamy-type frosting mix
6 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Chopped nuts, shaved chocolate, crushed lemon drops and/or flaked coconut
Prepare lemon chiffon cake mix according to directions on the package, except bake 25 to 30 minutes in 2 jelly roll pans (15-1/2 by 10-1/2 by 1 inches). Turn pan upside down immediately; cool thoroughly. Cut into pieces, each 1-1/2 by 1 inches.
Blend frosting mix with water and corn syrup. Beat until smooth. Pour frosting into warmer or fondue pot. (A few drops of hot water may be added to thin mixture whenever necessary.) To eat, dunk cake pieces into warm frosting, then dip into chopped nuts, chocolate, candy or coconut.
Vintage Hoover Electric Fondue set (1970)
We call it a set because it’s more than just a fondue. The fondue pot doubles as a chafing dish. And the heating unit is a mini fry pan.
The fry pan is perfect for an egg or two. With bacon, naturally. Automatic controls keep fondue, or any dish, piping hot. And no sticking, either. The pot is Teflon lined. You also get separate lids for pot and fry pan, and you get six fondue forks. It’s the fondue set you won’t just use when company comes.
Retro Better Homes and Gardens Fondue cookbook (1970)
Holiday Fun-Due – Tater tots and ham cubes for fondue (1975)
Vintage Presto Automatic Fondue small appliance (1970)
Anything you fondue we fondue better: The new Presto Fondue gives you absolute heat control, absolutely right. With no fueling. No lighting. No burning. The new Presto Fondue is electric. When you fondue meat, heat the oil right in the pot. The oil will never get too cold (or too hot) to cook the meat just right. Even with eight around the fondue pot!
The big red rim around the top will shield your table and cloth from drips and spatters of oil. For the switch to cheese, the Presto Fondue has a clever double boiler effect. It gives you the more delicate heat needed for cheese (or desserts like chocolate). No sticking or scorching ever with a Presto.
A “how to” and “what to” fondue book comes with every Presto Fondue. If you haven’t fondued before, now’s the time to start. The Presto Automatic Fondue solves all of fonduing’s little problems; saves all of the romance. You might say we’ve perfected a great sport. There’s more cooking at Presto than pressure cookers.