Curious Crumbs: Fondues of all kinds make this Tracadie restaurant a gem
Maison de la Fondue on the Acadian Peninsula draws visitors from far and wide
If you're looking to do something a bit cheesier with your spare time, you're in luck.
CBC New Brunswick's Viola Pruss has travelled across the province in search of restaurants serving up unconventional dishes in small places. For the first part of her series called Curious Crumbs, she dipped into the world of fondue.
The restaurant she visited is Maison de la Fondue, in the heart of Tracadie on the Acadian Peninsula.
The small restaurant specializes in a variety of fondue dishes, including the most famous version, cheese fondue.
Broth is key
The specialty of the house consists of a hot broth that customers use to cook slices of meat, seafood and vegetables. The recipe for the broth is a secret.
"People enjoy coming here to have a different kind of experience," said Monique Kenny, the owner of the business.
The restaurant can be found in a 115-year-old house on Luce Road, decorated with flowery wallpaper, creaky wooden floors, white table cloths and shiny wine glasses.
The building still has its original wood floors. It was converted into a restaurant in 1992.
"It's cozy," Kenny said.
This year, Kenny and her husband, Marcel, will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their purchase of the business. Kenny had already been working at the restaurant for several years and couldn't bear to see it sold.
But she'd never planned on owning her own restaurant — and didn't know much about how to run one.
"I fell in love with the place," said Kenny, who was 40 when she bought the building.
Since then, she's expanded the menu, which also includes steak, pasta and seafood. But her biggest seller is fondue, especially on Valentines Day.
"That's the most popular."
A little bit of history
Cheese fondue, often made with Gruyère cheese and kirsch, was created by the Swiss in the 18th century. Families with limited access to food during the winter relied on bread with melted cheese.
Eventually, the Swiss added wine, garlic and herbs to give the dish a little extra flavour.
Later, workers who couldn't return home for a meal, would bring a pot to work for boiling oil to cook meat. This became a forerunner of fondue bourguignonne.
Chocolate fondue was invented in the United States.
Fondue comes from the French word, fondre, which means to "melt."
When she's not receiving deliveries or looking after the cutlery, which includes long forks for dipping bread, meat and vegetables in fondue pots, Kenny is showing people the ropes and how to properly eat fondue.
"When you help someone, you feel they enjoy more," she said.
Guests visit from all over
The restaurant might be off the beaten path, but word gets around.
People have come from all over the country to visit Maison de la Fondue, especially in summer and fall.
When diners walk in, they see a guestbook that people from Asia, Europe and other parts of the world have signed.
Customers always promise Kenny they will come back.
"When they [leave], they're happy."
With files from Viola Pruss