Where did Raclette originate from?
Raclette is traditionally a Swiss dish that has been enjoyed for decades, especially in the Alpine region of the country. Hungry skiers often look forward to raclette after a morning, or day, on the slopes and it has become a quintessential part of the Swiss dining experience. If you’re keen to try the tastes of Switzerland – especially if you have a passion for cheese – this is one dish that needs to be on your Culinary Bucket List.
Where does Raclette really come from?
Raclette has become incredibly popular in Europe’s ski regions but it was the Swiss mountains where it is originally thought to have come from. Swiss shepherds from the French speaking Valais region are credited as the original creators of the dish. These nomadic people needed to bring food with them to the Alps that was cost effective and wouldn’t easily spoil when temperatures rose during the summer. Their solution was to transport potatoes and cheese and so the basis for Raclette was created.
How is Raclette made?
The first farmers who made Raclette baked the potatoes that they had brought with them on an open fire and the cheese was left just to the side of the fire to melt. As the cheese started to melt they scraped it off the block and onto the fully baked potatoes. It was this scraping of cheese that gave the dish its name – ‘racler’ means ‘to scrape.’ Today, Raclette is rarely prepared over an open fire as it’s not as easy to cook that way. Instead, there are lots of other options including using a Raclette Grill, which melts individual portions of cheese that can then be added to potatoes or other ingredients. Another option is the Raclette Melter, which holds half of block of cheese in place under a heating element to simulate the melting effect of the open fire.
How can you make your own Raclette?
Boil your potatoes for around 20 minutes (skins on) and then drain them and put them somewhere you can keep them warm. Choose your tool of choose for melting the raclette cheese and then heat it up. Once the cheese has melted then you can scrape it off and add it to the pre-cooked potatoes. There are also lots of other ingredients that you can put in Raclette to personalise it for your own tastes. For example, some people like to add gherkins into the mix or pickled onions. Traditionally, a spice like paprika is also tasty. Unless you’re vegetarian you may want to also include some meat – Buendnerfleisch, for example, is an air dried meat that has long been enjoyed as part of the Raclette experience. Swiss white wine, such as Fendant, goes well with Raclette or you can enjoy it with a glass of something fruity and red.
Raclette is a delicious Swiss dish and a culinary indulgence, whether you’re fresh from the slopes or just looking to experience a traditional taste of the Swiss Alps.