Raclette

Who, if not we Swiss, could have come up with the delicious idea of ​​putting a half a cheese wheel by the fire and scraping off the molten layer bit by bit? This is the original form of raclette, which takes its name from the French word meaning, "to scrape off". In the meantime, a special raclette grill has been devised for a raclette evening at home. With its small pans, everyone can smother a variety of snacks such as new potatoes, meat, and vegetables with melted cheese.

Raclette: From "Pure" to "Advanced"

There are actually many different ways you can melt and enjoy your cheese. Either let the cheese play the main role or offer your guests a small interactive buffet with all sorts of delicacies.

Pure Raclette

For purists, the only raclette grills that come into question simply consist of a tray for the cheese and a heating element. The cheese is melted, which can either be enjoyed on its own or with potatoes, white bread and some pepper or paprika powder.

Raclette with Grill

Most models have two elements on which the food is heated: a grill surface above, and slots below for the small pans that can be filled with cheese and other toppings. The upper surface offers room for grilling meat, sausage, vegetables, or potatoes before you cover them with cheese.

Raclette with Stone

Appliances with a stone plate distribute the heat evenly and also retain it especially well. This makes them not only suitable for cooking meat or vegetables, but also for freshly baking small flatbreads. This allows one to create raclette pizzas or raclette tarte flambées. When it comes to cleaning the stone plates, less is more. A light layer of encrustation after a few raclette evenings is perfectly normal.

The Basics for a Successful Raclette Evening

Raclette is often associated with fatty treats that can be heavy on the stomach. But it’s possible to enjoy a lighter version of raclette. The basics are cheese (but not too little), a raclette grill, and a side dish such as new potatoes or bread. Theoretically, you can leave it at that. Or you can limit the side dishes by focusing on one theme, such as "Mediterranean" (tomatoes and olives), "fruity" (figs and chutneys) or "light" (with asparagus).

For on Top and Below: The Toppings

There are no bounds to the imagination when it comes to raclette. Everything that goes with cheese can be put in the pan. And if we’re being honest, pretty much everything goes well with cheese, especially when it’s melted.

  • Something filling like new potatoes, sweet potatoes, or bread
  • Pickled cucumbers, pearl onions, olives, artichokes or baby sweetcorn
  • Fresh vegetables such as banana peppers, chicory, zucchini or broccoli
  • Fruity flavours such as pears, pineapple, chutney or cranberry compote
  • Meats like chicken, beef or lamb
  • Various sauces like guacamole, garlic sauce or mustard
Tip: Preparation and Serving Tip: Preparation and Serving

Raclette is the ideal meal for an evening with friends and family because it’s easy to prepare and then to enjoy the sizzling results while all seated together at the table. The ingredients can all be chopped or divided into equal portions before the guests arrive, and kept covered in the refrigerator until it’s time to begin the big event.

A Little Cheese Know-How: It Depends on the Melting Point

Raclette is a dream for cheese fans. You can fill all of the pans and have five varieties to choose from. The cheese should ideally have a high fat content, which helps the cheese to melt quickly and evenly. But of course, harder cheeses can also be used. As a general rule of thumb you should count on about 200 to 250 grams per person.

Cheddar

Originally from Great Britain, the fascination of this cheese is due above all to its bright orange colour. Its melting properties also have nothing to hide, and an addition of cheddar to the cheese selection is also not only a visual, but also a taste highlight.

Goat Cheese Roll

A thickly sliced roll of goat cheese provides some variety to raclette. Rather than melting, the cheese becomes soft and creamy. Above all, the heat intensifies the aroma. This is also true of camembert or brie, which give off a mushroomy scent.

Gorgonzola and Roquefort

While not for everyone, blue cheese adds an intense bouquet to the raclette gathering. Gorgonzola and roquefort melt well and make an excellent complement to pears or cranberries.

Reblochon

This French raw milk cheese with its nutty, spicy flavour is likewise a classic for raclette and even lends its name to a variation of raclette known as the reblochonade.

Gouda and Buttercheese

If children are joining your party, having a milder cheese to hand is a good idea. Gouda or buttercheese certainly fit the bill. They’re also suitable for side dishes such as tender vegetables and fish where you want to avoid covering the flavour with too strong a cheese.

Emmental, Appenzeller and Gruyère

Various versions of mountain cheese usually have a high fat content and thus have all the right requirements for a delicious raclette. Whether you go for a more or less mature variety is dependent on your taste.

Valais Raclette AOP

For traditionalists, only the original valais should make an appearance at the table. With its perfect melting qualities, the full fat, raw milk cheese is simply perfect for raclette.

Mozzarella

Mozzarella also has a subtle taste that makes it the ideal cheese for a Mediterranean-inspired raclette.

Raclette Cheese and Using Up Leftovers

There can be a lot of leftovers after a raclette party. But there are a lot of various dishes you can create from them. For example, if you have a bright mix of vegetables and a little bit of meat and cheese left over, a raclette vegetable casserole is just the ticket. You can fill the ingredients out with a little bit of pasta or use leftover new potatoes to make the dish more filling. It’s also easy to make a raclette pizza. Whether using mozzarella or raclette cheese, a delicious crust is a guarantee.

Make Everything Sparkle again Make Everything Sparkle again

After a long raclette evening, there’s a lot to wash up. Especially if the cheese has hardened and stuck to the pans. After cooling, you can remove larger remnants with a paper towel or a wooden spatula. Then it’s time to soak, after which you can easily clean all the surfaces with a soft sponge or a brush. Sometimes the pans and other parts of the raclette grill can even go in the dishwasher. If you can’t detach the grill surface, you can still let it soak with wet paper towels.

Tip: Choice of Drinks Tip: Choice of Drinks

Of course, food is only half the battle for a convivial occasion. White wine makes the perfect foil to a hearty raclette. Try a fruity, dry Fendant, a refreshing Riesling, or a slightly spicy Grüner Veltliner. Beer also makes a good companion to this savoury meal. And to aid digestion afterwards, it’s good to have some nicely chilled Appenzeller alpine bitters to hand.

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