Friday, July 20, 2007

Wine Dinners at
The Melting Pot, Rocklin = Fun

With more than 100 restaurants nationwide and over 30 locations currently in development, The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. is the country’s premier fondue restaurant franchise. At The Melting Pot, fondue becomes a memorable four-course dining experience. Guests enjoy a choice of four flavorful fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées combined with special dipping sauces. The menu also includes creamy cheese fondues, lively salads, fine wines and mouth-watering chocolate fondue desserts.

I recently visited the The Melting Pot of Rocklin, to attend a special wine and fondue dinner, (a monthly feature at the Rocklin location). The wine pairing dinners are particularly interesting because they offer different varieties of cheeses and chocolates than are not normally available on the menu. I had already experienced an enjoyable dinner at The Melting Pot a few years ago, but I was very excited to return and try dishes that were specifically created to match the wines that were being sampled.

Michael Frampton, owner of The Melting Pot, recently announced that his restaurants received the 2006 Award of Distinction from Wine Enthusiast Magazine for their outstanding wine lists. This is the second consecutive Award of Distinction for The Melting Pot of Sacramento (located downtown), and the first for The Melting Pot of Rocklin.

Laurel Sather, the regional general manager for Sacramento, puts together The Melting Pot’s award-winning wine programs in both locations. She’s extremely passionate about wine culture, and it is conveyed through the menu she selects.

The wine dinner my group and I savored was comprised of a cheese course with vegetables and bread, a broth and oil course with meats and vegetables, and a chocolate course with various desserts. Each course was flawlessly paired with a wine from the featured winery of the evening, Sobon Estates, located in the Amador Foothills. Tom Quinn was the guest vintner of the evening. He hosted the dinner, explaining the wines and the grapes from which they were produced. He also shared the interesting history of Sobon Estates (now in its twentieth year of wine production.)

The first course was a Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Fondue that we enjoyed with Sobon’s 2006 Viognier. The Viognier is Northern Rhone varietal grape that loves the sun and hills of the Amador region. The wine was crisp and a perfect complement to the cheese fondue that had an Emmenthaler and Gruyére base.

Tom Quinn, Vintner at Sobon Estates

The second course was a mixed greens salad with walnuts and gorgonzola cheese and raspberry black walnut vinaigrette dressing delightfully matched with Sobon’s 2006 Reserve Rose. The rose was delicious and actually less sweet than the salad dressing! It was refreshing and tempted our palates for what was to come in the next portion of the meal!

The main course featured filet mignon, salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, chicken and vegetable potstickers and fresh vegetables. We prepared our main selections both in batter and oil (bourguignonne) and also in a boiling coq au vin sauce. Our pairings for this course were Sobon’s 2005 Reserve Barbera and the 2005 Fiddletown Zinfandel.

The vegetarian platter with tofu, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, raviolis. Delicious.

Meat Market...

The vegetable sides.

The grand finale was the dark chocolate fondue with Chambord Liqueur and flambéed with Bacardi 151. We also sipped Sobon’s 2004 Zinfandel Port. I took such delight watching my colleagues chase Oreo®-coated marshmallows (just one of the many dipping treats we were given) with their fondue forks to soak up the last bit of melted chocolate. We were all completely pleased with the meal and the spectacular service.

Dessert Tray

The next wine dinner will be September 26 at 6:30pm, featuring Michael-David Vineyards. The cost is $65 per person. To reserve call (916) 443-2347. For more information visit their website.


Anonymous said...

Hey Cakegrrl- Nice pix and nice writeup. Cool video, too. The Sobon wine dinner was a special treat. Thanks again!

cakegrrl2007 said...

No problem, Mr. Bourdain. I won't tell ANYONE you had the vegetarian platter. ;)