Cheese fondue: April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day

(CNN) -- It takes two to fondue - April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day.

Fondue parties were synonymous with the 1970s, but since then, fondue restaurants have popped up all over the country billing themselves as communal dining experiences that are exciting and fun. Fondue can be just that (if you lose the bell-bottoms), but you certainly don't have to go out to a fancy restaurant to get it.

Most families are given a fondue set at some point in their lives - be it a wedding or random birthday. If, by some stroke of luck, you actually got something you really wanted instead, fondue sets are almost always available and incredibly affordable at estate and garage sales, just make sure the bottom of the pot isn't warped or damaged.

While making the fondue mixture does require some technique, it's not that difficult to master. Fondue is Swiss dish of cheese melted with white wine. Some recipes say to rub the pot with a crushed garlic clove before adding anything, others call for multiple cheeses. You can customize the recipe to suit your taste, which is one of the great things about fondue.

As for the actual cheese, you'll need a good melting variety. If you're going to stay true to the dish's origin, stick with a Swiss, French or Italian melting cheese. Emmental and Gruyère are good Swiss versions, while Beaufort and Fontina represent some of the better options from the latter regions, respectively.

The biggest problem with making any sort of cheese or dairy sauce is that it usually separates. Thankfully, the Swiss realized that tossing the cheese in cornstarch prior to melting would help prevent this.

Cubes of bread are the traditional dipping option, but you don't have to stick to just that. Bite-sized veggies, crackers and even sausages all make really great dippers. Pick things that will stay on the fondue fork with relative ease -- there's nothing worse than fishing for a rogue piece of broccoli.

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