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What is Raclette?

Cheese and plenty of it...

The name "raclette" (pronounced ruck-lett in English or rah-klett in its native French) refers to a meal and to a type of cheese with the same name. The traditional dish can be described as melted cheese eaten with boiled (or roasted) potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions. Modern electrical appliances that are used to make the dish are called Raclette grills. While the method of melting the cheese has changed over time, the raclette meal is quite easy to prepare using the simplest of ingredients and has been a long favourite for festive and fun interactive evenings.

With the tradition originating in Switzerland, Raclette, the meal, is one of Switzerland's best loved national dishes and is very popular in other parts of Europe such as France and Germany. The most famous and best Raclette cheese is made in the alpine villages in the Swiss Alps which has a very distinct flavour and excellent melting qualities as well as being the main ingredient that makes the dish. Just like the well known Classic Cheese Fondue Raclette is another way of enjoying simple and delicious cooking incorporating lots of interactivity and of course lots of cheese.


Somewhere hidden in the valleys of the Swiss Alps...

Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking areas in the Alpine regions of the Valais canton in Switzerland. While the process of melting cheese has been around since ancient times, according to legends - local farmers or herdsmen in the valleys of the Swiss Alps set up camp for the night and the cheese that was laying around on stones at meal time, melted near the open fire and some farmer scraped it off the rock (not wanting to waste any of it of course), he then tasted it and thought it tasted divine. The idea quickly caught on amongst the group and this novel idea quickly spread throughout the valley and so the cheese became well known as the most ideal to melt. Other ingredients would accompany the meal like gherkins (pickled cucumber) and small onions and to drink; kirsch (cherry liqueur), herbal tea or Fendant (local white wine).

It was a filling meal and enjoyed for its great simplicity and heartiness. The concept was simple and the melting of the raclette cheese was to become a popular way to eat it. It was comfort food at its best and the tradition eventually spread to other countries beyond the Alps from visitors travelling from afar to enjoy the famous ski resorts in the Valais region.



More in this section:

What is Raclette
Raclette or Fondue
Raclette Party Tips
More Raclette Tips
The Raclette Meal
Raclette FAQ
Special Occasions
First Impressions

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