Today begins the push to the end of the alphabet – thanks for sticking with me through this cheesy series!
“R” is for RACLETTE
Welcome back to Switzerland! I couldn’t stay away for long.
There are two melted cheese dishes popular in Switzerland – or, perhaps I should say, popular for tourists in Switzerland: fondue and raclette.
Fondue (from the French fondre, literally, “to melt,”) is better known, and if you link back to my “G” post, you can read all about it. Well, raclette comes from the French verb racler, literally, “to scrape.”
Raclette cheese is usually formed into wheels that weigh about 13 lbs. In times past, half the wheel was held, cut side out, to a fire, and when it was melted, the cheese was scraped onto a plate that contained little boiled potatoes, gherkin pickles, and pickled onions. Traditionally, Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evenings around a fire, they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of bread.
Times have changed. Now, most people use an electric raclette grill like this one from Eiger. You place a slice of raclette cheese into one of the little coupelles, or small pans, and melt the cheese under the grill.
And always remember, the best beverage to drink with melted cheese is something warm, like tea. Room-temperature white wine is acceptable. Cold drinks? Non non non.