The colder weather means one thing for cheese lovers: Raclette season. If you haven't tried this iconic melty, funky, dish, now is the perfect time! Originating in Switzerland around the 13th century, the name “raclette” comes from the French word “racler,” which means “to scrape," referring to how the cheese is traditionally melted and scraped onto a plate of potatoes, roasted vegetables, and various meats. Raclette was originally created by Alpine shepherds as a way to preserve surplus spring and summer milk so that it could be enjoyed and utilized during the harsh winters when milk was scarce. Today, Raclette is made and enjoyed all over the world, most notably in the Alpine regions of France and Switzerland. This washed-rind cow's milk cheese is the perfect balance of nutty and funky, and when melted, becomes a silky, luxurious treat.
So, how do you decide which Raclette(s) to try when there are so many different and delicious options? Well, here at Formaticum, we've done the hard work of trying many different Raclettes so that we can help you make this very tough decision. Here are the most popular types of Raclette you will find at the cheese counter or section of your grocery store:
- Swiss Raclette
- French Raclette
- Domestic Raclette (look for Reading Raclette from VT or Alpinage Raclette from WI)
- Flavor-added Raclette (popular flavors include truffle, peppercorn, chili, and herb)
If you're hosting a Raclette party, we recommend serving a minimum of 2 different varieties to keep things interesting. Our favorite combination is 2 classic Raclettes from the above categories, and at least 1 flavored Raclette.
Once you've chosen your Raclette varieties, how do you know how much to serve? We recommend accounting for 1/2lb per adult as a main course, or 1/4lb per adult as an appetizer. If you are using a personal Raclette grill, you can ask your cheesemonger to slice it for you, or you can use the Formaticum Soft Cheese Knife to help you get the perfect thin slices that will melt evenly and slide off the grill like silk.
Don't forget to wrap any leftover Raclette in Formaticum cheese paper to keep that beautiful flavor fresh, ensuring that you experience the full flavor of those lush Alpine pastures, as the cheesemakers intended.