Have a Raclette Party

A short time ago I purchased a Raclette Party Grill , for no other reason than it was on special and looked interesting. Actually to tell the truth I thought I was buying a regular portable grill.

So once I had unwrapped the item and considered the instructions I popped it in a special place where I put those things that maybe one day I will use.

Well just recently that day arrived. I was having friends over for dinner and thought I would try this new gadget out on them.

For the uninitiated, Raclette is both a semi-firm, salted cheese made from cows milk. A Raclette is also a dual- level grill that allows you to serve ‘raclette’ in the traditional swiss fashion, whereby you top small boiled potatoes with cheese and serve with gherkins, pickled onions, dried meats, sliced peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms and dusted with paprika and fresh-ground black pepper.

After boiling the potatoes I placed them on the table in a couple of dishes (at each end of the table) to keep them warm so the everyone could just help themselves. The condiments were also served in dishes so that each guest could take the food that they liked. I served a variety of cheeses again to ensure most tastes were catered for. If you serve the condiments between two people it means that your guest don’t have to keep passing dishes around or reaching across the table.

The modern day electric raclette is useful for more than just grilling cheese, the top level is suitable for grilling proscuitto, bacon, mushrooms etc or it can be used to keep hors d’oeuvres warm, while you are melting cheese and other toppings underneath.

Each guest has their own raclette (or little tray) in which they melt their choice of cheese and they can also make up their own combinations of food.

The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape” and raclette is indigenous to parts of Switzerland, Wallonia and France.

Raclette is generally eaten with a nice cup of tea or other warm beverage, but when we are having a party we like to have a white wine such as Ferdant (a type of white wine made from Chasselas grapes), Riesling, Savoie wine or Pinot Gris. However to be completely honest we simply drink whatever tipple we have available. There is a tale that suggests that drinking water along with your raclette will interfere with the digestion of the cheese, however there is no scientific evidence to suggest this is so.

Apparently raclette was mentioned in medieval writings as a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in mountainous Switzerland. It was also referred to as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese” in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is said that Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. While they were sitting around the campfire in the evenings they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it was soft they would scrape the cheese onto some bread.

However, the modern way of serving raclette is by using an electric table-top grill with small ‘pans’ to heat slices of cheese in. It made for a very relaxing meal and a fun night. My friends simply kept eating until they had all had their fill of cheese topped potatoes and we moved onto dessert. Which is another story.

There seem to be few really good recipe books available for the Racelette grill. One of our readers has recommended the “Racelette Recipe Book” The Insiders Guide to the Secret World of Raclette Dining’ which appears to be excellent value in both price and content.

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Comments

  1. This was a fun night. We will have to do it again sometime.

  2. I agree with you all the way, raclette is perhaps the most incredible experience anyone can have when trying out new ways to entertain. It is such a fun thing to have at a dinner party. BUT….

    I just can’t believe the book you are suggesting, and what you wrote about it! I have this book and all three other books about raclette. See, when I first discovered it I became a raclette fanatic/enthustiast and my friends got me all the English books available on that topic for my birthday.

    The first big disappointment is that three of these books (The book you mention by Claudia Schmidt, the Swissmar and also the Trudeau book on raclette) are all exactly the same, only with different covers! I could sell two of them luckily, but not having been warned was a terrible experience! Only the Insider’s Guide by Raclette Australia was another book, making it two different books in English.

    I was hungry not only for raclette but also knowledge to find out more about raclette. The Claudia Schmidt book provided me with nothing! It actually is filled with salad recipes, a few drink recipes and desserts, which while perhaps part of a dinner party I don’t think should have filled more than half of the book.

    The Insider’s Guide instead (see link from my name to their site) showed me where raclette came from (Claudia’s book is NOT about raclette, it is a bit about what else you could do with a raclette grill), what it means, pieces of info to impress anyone. It has the traditional raclette recipe included – unlike the book you mention which doesn’t have any real raclette recipe in it!

    Conclusion: If you want to buy a book on raclette buy the Insider’s Guide by Raclette Australia. If you want to buy a cheap book to throw away after looking at it once and perhaps learning one or two recipes what else to do with a raclette grill, get the Claudia Schmidt book. You have been warned.

  3. Thank you for your comments Susan.

    I have added a link to the book you have recommended to assist our readers who are looking for a recipe book for the Raclette Grill.