Raclette

Cheese Glossary: The Letters Q and R

A treat for you today: two letters from our cheese glossary!

Raclette

Quarter Wheel

A quarter of a 20-pound wheel of cheese.

Queso

The Spanish word for cheese.

Raclette

Raclette (ra-klet) is a semi-firm, salted cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté. The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape”. Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates.

Raclette is mentioned in medieval writings and was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them into the mountains. They would cook it by the campfire and scrape it onto bread. Now, electric table-top grills with small pans make the job of melting the cheese easy and fun. Each guest fills their small pan, known as a coupelles, with cheese and melts it before adding it to their plate.

Raw milk

This is simply the term for milk that has not undergone pasteurization.

Rennet

This comes from the membranes of calves’ stomachs and contains rennin, an enzyme. This aids in coagulating milk or separating curds from whey. There are also vegetarian forms of rennet that can be commercially produced from fungi.

Rind

The outer surface of the cheese. Rind can vary from soft to hard as well as in thickness and color. Natural rinds exist but some are produced from a harmless mold.

Rindless

Cheese without a rind. Some of these are not ripened so they won’t develop a rind and others are protected with a coating or plastic film.

Ripening

The aging process that cheese goes through.

Rustic

A term for cheeses that are earthy in flavor and aroma.

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