If you’re anything like us here at Shisler’s Cheese House, you love entertaining. We’re always looking for great new ways to share food and fun with our friends and family.
If you haven’t had a Raclette dinner party yet, then today we’re here to tell you why this might be your next big hit.
What is 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.
What is the history of Raclette?
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.
How can we enjoy it at a dinner party?
These days, you don’t have to go into the mountains or start an open fire to enjoy Raclette around the dinner table. 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.
What should it be served with?
This is where you can let your imagination run wild! Anything that you think might be delicious with cheese could be tried, but there are some classics that are essential for a Raclette party:
- Small boiled potatoes
- Sliced vegetables including carrots, peppers, celery, mushrooms and any other favourites
- Sliced fresh bread
- Meats or seafood
Whilst the cheese is melting in the coupelles, guests can cook their meat or seafood to their liking on the top of the grill. They can even throw the vegetables on to cook them slightly or crisp the potatoes up. The beauty of this is that everyone can select what they would like to eat and how they would like to eat it.
You can also serve apple slices, to cut through the sweetness, and other treats that you might usually serve with cheese.
Could I serve other cheeses?
What drinks should I serve with Raclette?
A white wine is a great choice to pair with Raclette. A Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Pinot Grigio would all work well. You could also serve a light wheat ale or a fruity Pinot Noir for red wine lovers.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab some supplies and you could be hosting the dinner party that will have all your friends hoping for a second invite!
How do you serve your Raclette? What are your top dinner party tips? Let us know in the comments!
Raclette is very popular in Europe, especially in the Swiss Alps and other ski regions. And that’s where it’s said Raclette came from.
While Switzerland supplies 80% of Raclettes, French Raclettes are slightly softer with a smooth and creamy flavour. Raclette is also the name of a Swiss dish where the cheese is melted in front of a fire or a special machine and the melted parts are scraped onto diner’s plates. It is then served with small potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and air-dried meat called Viande des Grisons. Raclette comes in round and square shapes and can be served with Vin de Savoie.
Today, few houses have an open fireplace, so to simulate the process we now have Raclette Melter that hold a block or half wheel of cheese under a heating element. Once melted, the cheese is being scraped off onto the prepared potatoes.
Another variety is a Raclette Grill, which allows melting individual portions of cheese and offers a grill top to serve grilled vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish with the cheese. Many of these models come with a reversible grill top that can be used to make crepes or pancakes. And yet another variety can be converted into a mini pizza oven.
A Traditional Raclette Recipe
This simple raclette recipe should be the first you try on your raclette grill or raclette melter. Serves 4
- 8 small/medium potatoes
- 1.5 lb. Raclette Cheese
- Buendnerfleisch (cut in paper-thin slices)
- 1 jar pickled gherkin cucumbers (cornichons)
- 1 jar pickled onions
- freshly ground pepper
Wash potatoes and, with skins on, boil in a pot filled with salted water for about 20 min. Test with a knife if the potatoes are done. Keep warm until ready to use in an insulated potato basket. In the meantime remove the rind of the cheese and cut into 1/16″ thick slices using a adjustable wire slicer. Arrange gherkins, onions, and Buendnerfleisch on a platter and set aside until required. Turn raclette on to begin to heat up (allow for at least 5 minutes before using). For raclette grills: Each guest takes a slice of cheese, places it in their pan and slides it under the raclette grill to melt. It takes approximately 2 minutes to melt to a creamy consistency and 3 minutes for a more crispier top. In the meantime take a potato, place onto your plate and cut it into a few pieces, remove the pan from under the grill once it’s reached its preferred consistency and hold the pan onto its side to scrape the cheese out, using your wooden spatula. For raclette melter, each guest prepares potatoes and side dishes on their plates. When the cheese starts melting on the wheel, scrape the cheese onto the plate. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and paprika. Pair Grand Cru Raclette with Pinot Grigio, Fendant, a Swiss white wine, or a light, fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais.