Just in time for your Labor Day BBQ! A Raclette Party!
A toaster oven’s dream! Raclette is both a type of cheese and a Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scrapping off the (racler) the melted part. Raclette is a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese fashioned into a wheel of about 12 pounds. As a dish the Raclette Cheese is heated in front of a fire or by a special machine then scraped onto diners’ plates. The term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape” a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate. Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire and scraped onto small potatoes, usually Bintje, or Charlotte and served with dried meats, gherkins and pickled onions. Another popular option is to serve raclette with a white wine. Local tradition cautions that to drink other drinks for example water will cause the cheese to harden in the stomach, leading to indigestion.
Rackette was mentioned in medieval writings dating back as far as 1291 and was a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in Switzerland and France. In the German speaking part of Switzerland it was known as Bratchas or “roasted cheese” and scraped onto bread. It is believed that Raclette began on the hillsides of Valais region in Switzerland as a wine harvest was coming to an end. Grape gatherers took from their sacks a small loaf of brown bread, some cheese and a bottle of wine. Legend has it that one of the men stabbed a piece of cheese with a large buck knife and approached a crackling fire, it started to melt and run with a crisp, golden texture. It was delicious, and there begins the story of “Raclette”.
A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table top grill with small pans, known as coupelles in which you melt slices of raclette and pour it onto steam potatoes or vegetables.
It has a fruity pungency and salted to perfection and tastes good melted over all manner of winter root vegetables. The flavor is created by using good quality milk, from grass fed cows and a special bacterial strains which create lactic acid and secondary metabolic flavor products unlike Emmentaler so no holes. The pressed cheese is soaked in a salt brine and smeared with a mixture of yeast and coryneform bacteria and placed in a cellar on red pine benches for ripening. It is then aged for 3 to 6 months. Raclette is a good melting cheese because the fat does not separate and pool as grease. This makes it a good cheese for casseroles, fondue and Raclette. Try hosting a Raclette party with your favorite Riesling and see how much fun it is!
Made from: cow’s milk
Country of origin: France and Switzerland
Type: semi-hard artisan
Fat content: 50%
Texture: creamy, firm, open and smooth
Color: pale yellow