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Raclette /rəˈklɛt/ is a semi-hard cheese that is usually fashioned into a wheel of about 6 kg (13 lb). The Alpine cow milk based dairy product is most commonly used for melting, but is also consumed as a slice. Raclette is a Savoyard (French) as well as Swiss [1][2][3] dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off (from French: racler) the melted part.

Raclette
Raclette2.jpg
Country of originSwitzerland and France
Region, townCanton of Valais and Savoie Haute-Savoie
RegionAlps
Source of milkCows
PasteurisedNo
Texturesemi-hard
Aging time3-6 months
CertificationAOC 2003-2013
AOP since 2013
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Contents

HistoryEdit

Raclette was mentioned in medieval texts from Swiss-German convents dating from as early as 1291.[4] The cheese was originally consumed by peasants in the mountainous Alpine regions of Valais (Switzerland), Savoie and Haute-Savoie (France). It was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or "roasted cheese". Traditionally, cow herders carried cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from pastures up in the mountains. In the evening, the cheese would be placed next to a campfire for softening, then scraped onto bread.

In Switzerland raclette is typically served with tea, other warm beverages, or Fendant wine. A French popular option is to serve it with white wine, such as the traditional Savoy wine, but Riesling and pinot gris are also common. Local tradition cautions that other drinks – water, for example – will cause the cheese to harden in the stomach, leading to indigestion.

DishEdit

 
A table-top raclette grill with typical accoutrements

Raclette is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland and the French Alps.[5] The raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners' plates.

Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire, with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. One then regularly scrapes off the melting side. It is accompanied by small firm potatoes (Bintje, Charlotte or Raclette varieties), cornichons (gherkins), pickled onions, and dried meat, such as jambon cru/cuit, salami, and viande des Grisons, and to drink, Kirsch, herbal tea or Fendant (wine from the Chasselas grape).

A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, in which to melt slices of raclette cheese. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese in the small wedge-shaped coupelles that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours. French and other European supermarkets generally stock both the grill apparatus and ready-sliced cheese and charcuterie selections, especially around Christmas. Restaurants also provide raclette evenings for parties or dinners.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Raclette". myswitzerland.com.
  2. ^ "RBBC Food - Recipes - Raclette". bbc.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Switzerland-Daily life and social customs". britannica.com.
  4. ^ "La raclette". Raclette-suisse.ch.
  5. ^ What is Raclette