Have you ever read "Asterix in Switzerland"? This instalment of the Gaulish protagonist's adventures sees Asterix and Obelix traipsing through Helvetia in search of a flower with magical powers with which to cure a gravely ill comrade. At one point in the story, a Roman governor hosts a fondue.
Though I doubt the historical veracity of this practice, the governor announces that whoever thrice loses a piece of bread in the cheese will be tossed into Lake Geneva with weights on his/her feet.
Historically accurate or not, this surely would have been an entertaining spectacle. An equally entertaining spectacle involving melted cheese is found right here in Edmonton at The Melting Pot. Perpetually packed, one is well advised to make reservations far in advance. Marlow Moo and I are lucky to get in on a cancellation. (Read about Marlow's experience here.)
We charge forward with the Four-Course Experience, which is comprised of a cheese fondue, a salad, an entree fondue, and a dessert fondue. Our Traditional cheese fondue is a vibrantly fragrant brew of Gruyere and Emmentaler cheeses, spiked with white wine and Kirschwasser. A whisper of nutmeg and and a discrete squeeze of lemon create a bountiful goo that magnificently caresses each bread cube. Apple slices and assorted veggies are also offered for dipping, but the veg and cheese are a bit incongruent, in that the former is so watery that the latter slides right off.
A Wisconsin Wedge salad is a plate of retro fun. Here, a crispy wedge of iceberg lettuce shares its bunk with a trio of mercifully ripe tomato slices, a snowball of bleu cheese, and a swizzle of creamy dressing sprinkled with bacon. It neither offends nor pleases, and the strongest components are the tomato and bleu.
The "Classic" entree features a wolf's ransom of meat: teriyaki sirloin, white shrimp, BBQ pork, herb-crusted chicken, and seasoned choice sirloin. A bowl of spuds, mushrooms and broccoli balances out this protein-heavy platter. One may dunk their choice of meat/veg in a bubbling cauldron of Burgundy wine tickled with spices, herbs and sliced mushrooms. The mushrooms veritable drink in their surroundings for a sumptuous snack, while the teriyaki sirloin is marvelously flavoured with soy and ginger. The amount of food is staggering and it seems as though we barely make a dent in it.
Dessert is a campfire at our table. This nostalgic treat is a heady synthesis of milk chocolate and marshmallow creme, all flambeed for good measure. Marshmallows and pieces of banana and strawberry are obvious dipping vessels. Showmanship was apparent throughout each course; the staff consummately know the finer points of fondue. Though my incapacious gastranomic rapacity prohibits regular visits, I cannot imagine staying away from the Melting Pot for too long. And, in case you were wondering, neither Marlow nor I lost any bread in the melted cheese.