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Culinary nostalgia is hot. Just look at all the retro chrome toasters and other kitchen appliances on the store shelves if you have any doubt.

Also making a comeback are retro recipes and styles of dining. One of the hottest dining styles making a comeback is fondue. Now, all you guys who remember the 70's stop rolling your eyes. Fondue is much more diverse now than your simple cheese fondue and crusty bread. And you can opt for electric fondue pots instead of the open flame version from years past.

Cheese fondue originated in Switzerland as a way to use hardened cheese and bread. The Swiss found that melting the cheese in wine in a common pot and dipping bread into this bubbling mixture was a pleasant change from their daily diet of wine, cheese and bread.

Fondue parties are also fun and easy to plan for the host or hostess. For guests, it's an interactive meal that is sure to encourage lively conversation and lots of laughs. Fondue is best served to small groups of four to six. That way everyone can have easy access to the fondue pot.

Set the fondue pot in the center of the table. Place a tray under the pot to protect your table or tablecloth from the heat and inevitable drips. Have your tray of dippers close so that everyone can reach.

Each guest needs to have his or her own long-handled fondue fork. Each diner also will need a table fork and a plate. The best procedure is to dip with the fondue fork, remove the dipper to the plate and eat with the table fork. This ensures that guests won't burn their month with a hot fork - and it's a lot more sanitary.

Dipping technique is important, and the proper form is to do a "figure eight" in the fondue. This keeps the fondue stirred and coats the dipper efficiently. Folklore tells us that if a man loses his dipper in the pot, he must buy the next bottle of wine. If a woman loses her dipper, she must kiss a person at the table.

So dig out your fondue set and call up your friends for a retro dining experience you will want to repeat again and again.

Swiss Fondue

1 clove garlic, halved
8 fl oz dry white wine, or rose wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
8 oz / 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz / 2 cups grated Emmental cheese
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon kirsch
pieces of cubed French bread, to serve

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with cut clove of garlic. Pour in wine and lemon juice and heat gently until bubbling. Reduce the heat to low, and gradually stir in grated cheeses, then continue to heat until cheeses melt, stirring frequently. (This stage can take a looooong time.) In a small bowl, blend cornstarch smoothly with kirsch, then stir into cheese mixture and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture is thick and smooth, stirring frequently. Do not allow fondue to boil. Serve with the bread.

Mocha Tia Maria Fondue

8 oz plain chocolate
3 tsp instant coffee powder
5 fl oz / 2/3 cup double cream
3 tbsp Tia Maria
selection of fresh fruit, to serve

Break up chocolate into a fondue pot. Add the coffee and cream and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the chocolate melts. Stir in the Tia Maria, and beat until smooth. Sever with fruit.


6 boned and skinned chicken breasts
4 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
Curry Sauce  
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoons mild curry power
3 teaspoons plain flour
1 1/4 cups milk
6 teaspoons mango chutney
salt and pepper

Cut chicken into 3/4 in pieces and mix with oil paprika and chili powder. Place chicken on a serving plate. To make curry sauce heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft. Stir in curry powder and cook for 2 minutes then stir in flour. Gradually stir in milk and bring slowly to the boil stirring all the time. Continue to cook until sauce thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes then add chutney and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with the chicken cooked in the hot oil.