When was the last time you had folks over for fondue? Odds are it's been way too long.
And why is that? It's such a great match to small gatherings. It's fun, encourages conversation, and even bad fondue is pretty good. The only downside I can see is that some of the really good fondue cheeses are very expensive, but there are always alternatives for those with some creativity.
You don't even need a fondue set if you're really casual about it - a couple small pots over low heat and some bamboo skewers would work almost as well.
I recently had a small gathering with 4 pots; I made the oil/meat pot and the cheese/bread pot - our guests were fabulous enough to bring 2 chocolate pots with an over-the-top collection of dippings.
For the meat; couldn't be easier. Chunks of chicken, pre-skewered, white meat on one side of the dish, dark meat on the other. Chunks of beef, some NY strips I had handy. Lastly, some fresh local shrimp. They were big enough that I cut them in half. Cleaned, shelled and de-veined, of course.
Resist the temptation to put 2 pieces of meat per skewer. You won't be able to heat more than a few inches of oil in the pot to the needed temperature, so you've got to make sure the meat stays submerged.
The cheese was a little disappointing. I'm having trouble with it breaking. I'm not sure if that's because I'm doing it too hot, or not hot enough. I used an acid (a sauvignon blanc) and some cornstarch in the cheese, as suggested by my man Alton Brown, and it started out OK, but then it got a bit grainy. But guess what? Still yummy.
And the chocolate that our guests brought? 2 varieties; milk chocolate and white chocolate. I'm not a fan of white chocolate, but I have to say, this one, heavy on the vanilla - was really good. Especially on Oreos and pretzel rods.