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Review of the Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant

Denise is a psychiatric nurse. She is passionate about writing, photography, travel, cooking, holistic health, adventure, and family.

Cheese fondue at the Melting Pot restaurant

Cheese fondue at the Melting Pot restaurant

What Is Fondue?

When it comes to fun ways to enjoy food, having fondue is at the top of the list. Why? Because despite what your mother may have taught you, a fondue dinner allows you to eat while playing with your food. For those who don’t know what fondue is, or have never experienced a fondue event, let me explain.

Fondue, pronounced "fon doo" (accent on the second syllable), is a type of cooking in which individuals dip bite-sized pieces of food into a community pot filled with hot oil, cheese, or chocolate sauce. The food is speared with a long-handled fork and allowed to cook in the hot oil, if it is meat or seafood; or dipped into the cheese or chocolate sauce.

Fondue Bourguignonne refers to a reduction of red wine, onions, thyme, parsley and butter. In general, fondue Bourguignonne is the "meat" fondue . . . beef in particular, such as steak, but also poultry and seafood, that is cooked in the pot filled with oil, wine and butter, with seasonings.

History of Fondue

Although fondue is a French word meaning "to melt," it is the Swiss who are credited with creating the fondue cheese pot. However, there are some historians who feel it could have originated in any of the areas of Northern Italy, Southern France or Switzerland.

The earliest record of fondue was a wine and goat cheese pot mentioned in the book, The Iliad, which would make this form of cooking as old as the 8th century B.C. Resources state that the fondue was created to use cheese, which had hardened. By combining it with wine and heating it, bread could be dipped and eaten.

In the 1930s the Swiss Cheese Union delegated the fondue as a Swiss national dish. It became very popular in America in the 1960s. The little pots came in all sorts of colors with the tips of the forks a variety of colors to aid in identifying which fork belonged to whom when they were mixed in the pot. To keep the oil or sauce warm there was a votive candle, or in the case of the electric fondue pots, it was set on a burner.

In Chalet Suisse, a New York Restaurant popular in the 1950s and '60s, but no longer in existence now, Swiss chef Konrad Egli popularized the Bourguignonne Fondue when he brought the tabletop cooking pot into the public dining experience. Later, Egli introduced the chocolate fondue while promoting the use of Toblerone Chocolate from Zurich, Switzerland.

Although it is no longer as popular to have a fondue party as it was in the 1960s, kitchenware departments still sell fondue pots, or you can purchase one online. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's suggestions for preparing the pot and cleaning it afterwards. There are many easy to access recipes in both cookbooks or online.

The Melting Pot Experience

Have you had a Melting Pot experience?

The Melting Pot Restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Melting Pot is a franchised restaurant where you can experience fondue for any occasion. They highlight romantic evenings such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or anniversaries. They also have a large following for birthday celebrations. In addition to this, they have specific theme nights and Ladies Night Out. If there is a birthday the wait staff will bring a dessert with a candlelit for the honored guest.

Our group ate at the Melting Pot in Raleigh, NC. We had a party of five friends and family members, celebrating a birthday. Our waiter was knowledgeable, pleasant and skilled. He explained the menu to us and what to expect with the various courses we ordered.

The food was excellent and there was enough to go around where no one went hungry. I focused on the shrimp, while my brother, nephew, and friend ate mostly the steak and chicken. The cheese course had a delightful taste on a tangy side. The dessert course was the best: oozing melted chocolate. Four adults ordered cocktails, which were well made, and our waiter kept our water glasses filled. At the end, we were served coffee to compliment the chocolate dippers.

The menu consists of steak, chicken or seafood entrees, a choice of salad, a cheese fondue, and dessert fondue. There is also a choice of enjoying a four-course meal or ordering a la carte, although it is less expensive to order the four courses.

Depending on your order, prices range from $39 per person to over $50 per couple. This can be an expensive outing so if you are on a tight budget it is a place you will want to plan for so there are no surprises. Alcoholic beverages are available; however, they are not included in the base price for the meal. Factor in a tip and you can easily spend close to a hundred dollars for the evening.

At the Melting Pot, every guest is treated with top service, whether you and your group are celebrating a special occasion or not. The creators of the Melting Pot have a mission of happiness for their clients. Tables are set apart from each other for privacy and there is plenty of room to seat six people comfortably, along with a table filled with dips, food and place settings.

The Melting Pot has about 145 locations across the U.S. and franchises in 37 states. They also have a location in Canada and Mexico. The restaurant is open every day. If you have a Melting Pot in your area, I recommend you to take a group of friends for a night out.

How I Rate the Melting Pot

I give the Melting Pot 4 stars out of 5. In my opinion, the restaurant rates high on uniqueness and fun. They also rate high on quality of food and beverages. Why I did not rate them a 5 across the board is for two reasons: price and noise level. Although I would not expect them to lower their prices, it will deter many families on a tight budget.

As for noise level, I realize it is a fun place to dine and work, and certainly, with the number of celebrations going on it is difficult to keep the atmosphere toned down. In fact, it is a "party" atmosphere. So, if you are looking for soft, subtle elegance, don't stop here.

Melting Pot Locations Near Raleigh, NC

My Fondue Memories

One of my favorite memories was serving fondue at my wedding rehearsal dinner. Because it was my second marriage it was a small, intimate party with my young daughters and close friends. We set the grill up for the main entrée and when it came time for dessert the guests were enchanted with the chocolate fondue. I offered a variety of fruit, marshmallow and cakes that they could dip into the chocolate sauce. There was nothing but high praise for this fun evening.

My other favorite memory of my fondue experiences was when my oldest daughter, Cara, graduated from Michigan State University. I surprised her with a trip to Europe, as she was going into teaching and I felt she would benefit from this "first-hand" experience. As we moved from France into Italy, we stopped in Switzerland for a day and a half.

We had fun seeing the highlights of Geneva for the day, including touring the United Nations Building. Although we did not spend much time in Switzerland, and both of us have thoughts of returning someday for a longer visit, we enjoyed sitting down and having an "authentic" fondue. In actuality, it was not much different from the cheese fondue prepared at the Melting Pot.

How to Make Your Own Fondue at Home

Fondue is not difficult, but there are some preparations you will need.

  1. Gather the equipment: It's easiest to buy or borrow a fondue pot or two. If you have lots of folks, two pots are better than one. If you want to vary the menu without a lot of clean up, also use two pots. Otherwise, clean the pots between courses.
  2. Decide on the menu: Which entree will you serve: meat or fish? What about a salad? Will you have a cheese coarse? (Of course you will.) And, don't leave out the dessert—it's the most fun.
  3. Make a shopping list: Check out the menus in order to make a list of ingredients to shop for. There are some recipes on the Melting Pot website that are tasty.
  4. Go shopping: Time to buy all those yummy ingredients.
  5. Prepare: Get the house for the guests and do your food prep.
  6. Explain the rules: On the day of your party, explain the rules to the guests. Each person has one fork, no double dipping, remove the food from fork to plate—no nibbling off of the fork.
  7. Have fun!

Suggestions for Your Fondue Party

Main CourseCheese Course DippersChocolate Dippers

Steak

Bread

Marshmallows

Chicken

Broccoli

Plain donut pieces

Pork

Cauliflower

Angel Food Cake

Shrimp

Carrot sticks

Pound Cake

Other Seafood

Celery sticks

Strawberries

Tofu

Zucchini chunks

Banana chunks

Poll Time:

Comments

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 15, 2012:

Congratulations on your new home :) (or was this awhile ago? LOL) I love the Melting Pot and I'm sure you had a fun celebration! Thanks for your wonderful comments. I appreciate it.

Karen A Szklany from New England on November 15, 2012:

Hi Denise,

Great hub...very inspiring layout. There are so many things you can do with it, and it seems like you've done all of them!

My family and I celebrated the closing of our new home at the Melting pot when a friend was in town (Boston) from another state. :0)

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 10, 2012:

Hi Dianna-the history is vague with several countries claiming credit. But, it appears that the development of the dish as we know it today has been from Switzerland. Thanks for your feedback. :)

Dianna Mendez on November 10, 2012:

We have a melting pot here, but my experience was at one in the midwest as a dinner party. We really enjoyed it and the fun is in the experience of cooking your own meal. We have one at home and bring it out when we have guests once in a while. Love your suggestions for the dipping items, especially the angel food cake idea. I never would have guessed the Swiss invented it, I thought it was french.

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 10, 2012:

Hi Myz-oh, if you can't join them (at a restaurant), make your own fun at home...it isn't hard once you get the hang of it and you'll have a blast with your friends. :)

India-thanks for your comments. After all the review writing and comments on this hub I feel like I want to take another (2 hr ) drive to experience it again. Maybe I can twist somebodies arm to treat me, haha.

India Arnold from Northern, California on November 10, 2012:

Another great food hub! And who wouldn't want to dip into a fun fondue party!? Thanks for showing us what a blast The Melting Pot restaurant can be!

HubHugs~

Life Under Construction from Neverland on November 10, 2012:

Wow..this seems so wonderful.. would love to try if i had a chance :)

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 10, 2012:

Hi Eddy-thanks for your comments. Have you had fondue?

Julie-YUM! That is one of my favorite things to dip into chocolate. :) Thanks for reading.

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 10, 2012:

Hi Leslie-thanks so much for your feedback. Restaurant=Pricey for sure!

I bet your New Year's Eve Party is a blast!

Hi Lovedoctor-thanks for your comments. Yes, we use the Melting Pot for celebrations also. I'd love to go on Ladies Night, but its so expensive.

mpropp-if you have the opportunity, definitely take it. It is a fun experience. Thanks for reading.

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 10, 2012:

Ruby-it's easy to improvise in your own home with a double burner or something similar to melt the chocolate. There are great recipes for the chocolate online. Thanks for reading.

Hi Rose-Like you, I don't make it enough, but it is fun. The Melting Pot is lots of fun, but it's an expensive night out.

Hi Gail-thanks for your great feedback. :)

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on November 10, 2012:

Denise, great review of Fondue and the Melting Pot Restaurant. I have had fondue at home (cheese) and I have had a chocolate fondue at a wedding which was rather lovely. This year on holiday in Mexico, there was chocolate fondue twice a week with huge, fat, sweet strawberries - gorgeous!

Eiddwen from Wales on November 10, 2012:

A great hub ;so well informed and interesting . Thank you for sharing and I vote up and share

Have a great weekend Denise.

Eddy.

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 09, 2012:

Frank-I'm glad I was able to introduce you to some new information. I hope you have an opportunity to take part in this type of cooking sometime. It is delicious and fun! Be sure to check it out!

Sandcastles-I'm laughing already with the anticipation of this episode. I'll be looking it up, "ya' sure...it'll be good for a laugh, eh?" Thanks for the info.

Hi Nancy--mine too! Thanks for your comment.

Melissa Propp from Minnesota on November 09, 2012:

Great review! I've heard from my older siblings that it was quite the rage back when they were younger and I've really wanted to try it...I've seen the coupons for Valentine Day specials at the Melting Pot, so I know we have one in Minnesota. After reading your review I really want to try it! We have been able to indulge in the chocolate fountain at parties, so at least we've experienced the chocolate fondue. Now, I really want to try the cheese!

lovedoctor926 on November 09, 2012:

Awesome review! There's nothing like a fondue dinner... I love the Melting Pot. I used to go there for dinner with my family on special occasions and went there a few times to celebrate birthday with friends.

Karen Silverman on November 09, 2012:

i adore fondue, Denise - i have my own pot and cook book - and make a chocolate fondue every new years eve!

It's a mess and it's a blast!

This restaurant sounds awesome, if a tad pricy? There's nothing like that in my hood..

i had so much fun reading this, dear - it brought back some happy memories...

voting/sharing

This should definitely win a prize!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on November 09, 2012:

I've never been to a Melting Pot Restaurant, but I definitely have very fond memories of those 1960s and 70's fondue parties and the colorful pots and forks!

Eating fondue meals together was fun.

I enjoyed reading this comprehensive hub and loved the fact that you included the fun video, a short history of fondue cooking, your own personal photos of a good time at the Melting Pot, and the tips for creating a great fondue party or meal for the family.

Voted up across the board and shared.

Good luck in the contest. This hub really looks great.

Hub Hugs,

Gail

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 09, 2012:

I love fondue and don't make it nearly enough. I'm glad that there are still some restaurants keeping up the tradition.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 09, 2012:

I have not had the melting pot experience, but it sounds like fun. I love chocolate so i know i would love it. I do not know of any restaurants around my area, but i will check it out. Great article...

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on November 09, 2012:

Some of my best experiences as a kid were dipping around the fondue pot. My mother used to make a variety of dips or sauces this way.

SandCastles on November 09, 2012:

Yum. There is a funny Canadian comedy called "Corner Gas" and one of the episodes revolves around fondue. The entire series is on Youtube. This particular show is from Season 4, episode 4 and it is called, "Just Brent And His Shadows". It's quite funny. There are many stories told in the series about the people who live in Dog River, a little town in Saskatchewan, Canada. In this episode, there is a fondue theme and there are other themes as well.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on November 09, 2012:

a very good review Ive never even heard of fondue... but now I just got a whiff of it..thanks for that :)

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 08, 2012:

Hi Danette-I do remember mom's fondue pot. In fact, it was left in the house when John and I moved in there...found it in the pantry. Thanks for your great feedback and votes. :)

Danette Watt from Illinois on November 08, 2012:

Dee, remember mom having a fondue pot? You gave a great review of the pros and cons of The Melting Pot. Glad to see your rating included the noise level - I think that's important for people to know. I personally don't like to be in a restaurant that is so noisy it's hard to have a conversation. I thought it was a good idea to include info on having a fondue party at home. It's something different for people to try, especially with the holidays around the corner. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Denise Handlon (author) from North Carolina on November 08, 2012:

Mary-thanks for your lovely comments. That's too bad that you don't have a M.P. near you-you can always enjoy the fondue in your home with your own set. :)

Hi Bill-I do remember those days of the fondue parties. I looked up your state and there are three locations in Washington, in case you feel like taking a road trip, haha.

Acaetnna-I'm with you. I love to have fondue parties, but haven't done that for a very long time in my own home. I'm so glad that you use this way of entertaining...it makes me feel like it is not something to keep in the back shelf.

Hi Randi-Have fun revitalizing the fondue...maybe in time for a holiday gathering? Thanks for reading.

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on November 08, 2012:

This takes me back, Denise. When we were about high school age, fondue parties were all the rage. thank you for this thorough hub. There is a Melting Pot not too far from me. (and a fondue pot in my cabinet!) We'll have to check it out. Thank you for sharing

acaetnna from Guildford on November 08, 2012:

I always think a fondue is a brilliant idea. My husband and I often entertain guests with a fondue. It is such a fun meal to have. Great hub Denise as always.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 08, 2012:

Denise, I don't think those restaurants are on the west coast; if they are I've never heard of them. Remember when fondues were the rage of the 60's and 70's? I do enjoy them, but haven't used one in decades now.

Great review!

Mary Craig from New York on November 08, 2012:

Great review Denise. You included everything anyone could possibly want to know about fondue and The Melting Pot. I'm just upset that we don't have a Melting Pot Restaurant around here, though I think it would have to be reserved for special occasions!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.