Fondue is a Swiss and French dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a spirit lamp (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930s and became popular in North America in the 1960s. Since the 1950s, the name "fondue" has been generalized to other dishes where a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, where pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, where pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil. The word fondue is the feminine passive past participle of the French verb fondre ('to melt') used as a noun, probably influenced by a Franco-Provencal word. It is first attested in French in 1735, in Vincent la Chapelle's Cuisinier moderne, and in English in 1878.
Contributions by Gwen Gale, Tooki, and 184.108.40.206.