Le raclette is a cheese that comes from Switzerland, which is used in making the “dish” called la raclette. Yes, the Swiss differentiate between the cheese and the dish (le raclette versus la raclette) whereas the French don’t. The cheese is made with cow’s milk, aged at least 8 weeks, and has a golden crust with a yellow or white interior.
The verb racler means “to scrape” and that’s where the name for this cheese comes from. Families used to sit around the hearth and put half a round of cheese very close to the fire where it would soften and start to melt. They would then scrape off the melted portion of the cheese with a wooden spatula for each guest and family member before returning it to the fire. The cheese first appeared in the Middle Ages, but it was not until 1874 that it was christened la raclette.
Nowadays, particularly in France, we use these little electric grills/skillets.
The only place I ever eat raclette is at my in-law’s house.
I have really great parents-in-law – they had to be to raise such a great son. And they are eager to spend time with my family, whether it’s my mom and her husband or my dad and his wife, whenever they come to visit. We spent the last afternoon of my dad and his wife’s visit to France at Matthieu’s parents’ house eating raclette.
There is always a little apéritif when we go there, with little snacks (like endive leaves with blue cheese) and fizzy drinks or fruit juice.
We, in turn, sometimes bring flowers
and always bring the grandkids.
It’s fun watching my family and Matthieu’s family spend time together, and the kids love it too.
Raclette is eaten with various types of charcuterie (smoked ham and prosciutto) and pickles. It’s also eaten with boiled potatoes, which are placed on top of the grill to stay warm until they are ready to be cut up and covered with cheese.
Sometimes there are quail eggs.
These days, raclette is pre-cut in slices and each slice perfectly fits in a little iron skillet, which you then place under the electric grill so it melts.
When it’s done you pour the cheese over your boiled potatoes, and eat it with the ham and pickles.
You can also crack the tiny little quail egg
and cook that too. (So cute!) 🙂
Raclette is delicious, and perfect for a cold winter day. Everyone is happy eating raclette.
Even the dog is happy, and he didn’t get any!
I know you all thought you’d escape a tempting food post since it’s Thursday. Sorry to you dieters out there. 😉 Just wanted to let you know about this fun culinary Swiss-French tradition. I got the historical facts for this post from this website.