It's Fondue Day: Time For A Cheese Party

Some fromage, s'il vous plait? It's Fondue Day, and time to celebrate this food invented in the 18th century. Even though fondue comes from the French word "to melt," it was actually made by the Swiss. During the winters, when fresh food was hard to come by, they would stretch out their available (and often stale) cheeses by melting them into a cheesy stew. The first recipe was published in 1735 in the cookbook Cuisinier Moderne, and included French truffles (yum).

Fondue may be the easiest way to entertain; once you have the basic equipment (pot and skewers), all that's left is your cheeses, meats, breads, and other yummy ingredients. Some ideas of how to class up your Wednesday night with fondue:

• There's more to fondue than just a block of cheese. Try a new recipe to spice things up, like a cheese fondue with chipotle and tequila, or go meaty with a burger topped with fondue.

• Another variation of the fondue, a fondido is the Mexican version of a fondue; a recipe with chorizo and poblanos makes a perfect mini-course to the cheesy entrée.

• Chocolate fondue is a classic romance staple, but also a cliché. For a sweet but unusual choice, try a cupcake fondue. Dip mini cupcakes into a sugar, orange juice, and corn syrup frosting, held over a low flame or tea light to keep it warm. Keep sprinkles and other yummy toppings on hand it top them off, and voilà — dessert.