I Concede to Cheese – French Raclette

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I concede to the cheeses of France
Raclette for dinner
Raclette for dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all you cheese lovers out there, imagine dinner consisting of mass quantities of melted cheese poured over boiled potatoes served with a variety of deli meats. Maybe some pickles on the side, eggs or even vegetables to round out the meal usually served with wine.

The Raclette cheese is originally from Switzerland and made from cows milk formed into giant rounds. The creamy white coloured cheese has of medium hard consistency and a mild flavour. Farmers take the cheese while working the herds in the Swiss and French mountainous regions, where over a fire they melt the cheese and once soft, scrape it on to a piece of bread or potato and eat it with dried or cured meats.

Today the Raclette Grill has changed the tradition by bringing the meal indoors to every house in France. The tabletop electric grille has little pans to place the cheese slices in and you slide them inside the appliance where the heating element above melts the cheese. This inner level is surmounted by a hot plate, where you can warm your deli meats, fry an egg, roast vegetables or make crepes, depending on the shape and style of your unit. You can buy a small version of the machine for two people or larger sizes for up to twelve, in most appliance stores in France.

In most super markets throughout France you can buy pre-sliced Raclette cheese that fits perfectly into your Raclette grilling pan. You can also purchase prepackaged variety packs of your favourite meats to go with your Raclette dinner.

The atmosphere around the meal is very relaxed. Equally important to the hands on experience of cooking your food around a table, while chatting for hours, is wine consumption, believed to help digest the meal.

Our hosts Anne and Pierre served a specialty cheese in addition to the plain Raclette variety which had mustard seeds inside. We ate cured hams from Northeast France, Rosette sausage that reminded me of Hungarian winter salami and round bacon, all tasting excellent with the potato/cheese/wine combination.

I love how most families in France serve the children first. They ate ham, bread and cheese and loved being allowed to play with their food. After, the three little crappers ran upstairs to play some more before dessert. I adore these kids.

Lastly, our host served an apple filled ever-so-light phyllo pastry from our favourite bakery Au Palais Des Saveurs, with a milky sauce she made from melting a French candy called Caramar. Anne explained that it was a treat from when she was a child. Not too big on dessert, it is hard not to succumb to the temptations of the culinary palette in France. My cup overfloweth and my pants are getting tight! I live in France.

We sampled two different red wines with our Raclette dinner. The first from Mouline Gimie a local winemaker a few blocks away. His Chardonnay sampled prior is smooth with a buttery flavour, one of the best in the region. The red was a mid-high priced bottle around 8€ that had many layers of flavour and a bold after taste. It was perfection. The second from Chateau Montauriol Rigaud just outside the Languedoc in the Corbières region, was 5.50€ from the cooperative and was a much lighter fruity wine perfect when paired with an apéritif or dessert.

Bon Appétit!

found in every French home, the Raclette Electric Grille
found in every French home, the Raclette Electric Grille
dinner is served
dinner is served
we tired two wines with dinner
we tried two wines with dinner
Perfect with dinner
Perfect with dinner
apple filled phyllo
apple filled phyllo

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Laura,
    Nice to see you! Raclette can be found in France, I think they have adopted it from the Swiss. There is a cheese that has ash in the middle called Morbier AU Lait Cru and another from the first milk of nursing goals called Cantal Entre-Deux which I am crazy about. Have you tried these yet? Delicious.

  2. Oh there’s a good question, what food to bring on the infamous deserted island? Or what would be your last supper… You got me thinking. Who would you bring to share your cheese, bread and wine with?

    On your pick, any hearty Rye breads are a favourite in our home as well. My baker father used to make a dense course rye, that you can’t find here…I should ask him to send us the recipe. I’ll share it if he divulges 😉

  3. I just finished eating some Dutch rye bread with some wonderful Italian cheese. If you asked me what I would bring with me to an uninhabited island, I’d say cheese, good bread and wine!

    Years ago I had a raclette meal with friends in Switzerland and it was great fun and utterly delicious, so I enjoyed reading about your experience. I can’t wait to come to France soon and eat more great cheeses and drink wine!

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