If you listened to the Episode 019 of the Guys and Food podcast, you heard me tell the tale of eating Raclette.
Here is a little more in-depth info for you. First, we must differentiate between Raclette the cheese and Raclette the experience.
As a product, Raclette is merely a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese made in Switzerland. It’s origins go back to medieval times in an area called Savoy which is now part of France. Indeed, its name comes from the French verb, “racler” which means “to scrape off” and once I tell you more about it, you know how scraping is involved. When heat is applied, Raclette transforms to gooey, melty goodness. One of the better characteristics of many but not all cheeses. When melted, there’s nutty smell and taste to the cheese.
If you grew up in the 1970s or if you’ve been to The Melting Pot, you get the idea of the Raclette experience; it is fondue-like in this way. The way you eat Raclette is to melt the cheese (it can be Raclette or Munster or Swiss or any type of good melting cheese) and scrape it onto various accompanying foods. Meats such as ham or turkey, and vegetables such as potatoes and cornichons usually accompany it. It can also come with crepes or baguette.
In my opinion, the best part is the fun is cooking on the electric table top grill called a coupelle. The one we used was about the size of a 9 x 13 baking dish. On top of the coupelle is a griddle. There you can heat up your meat or your crepes. In the middle of this device is a mini broiler like a salamander broiler that you’d see in a restaurant, but much smaller. You take the cheese and you stick in holders that look like shovels that kids use in a sand box. After the cheese melts, you take a scraping tool to remove it off the shovel-like device and onto your food or plate.
Methinks to shovel the molten cheese directly into your mouth, aside from the physical danger, would be poor form given the communal nature of the meal. As I said, the vibe is like doing fondue or Korean BBQ. It is more social , interactive, and fun than simply being serve a plate of food at a restaurant. It’s a nice change of pace!
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