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Claire - Chef's Cookware

Raclette

2nd November 2006 09:43

This blog entry comes from the experts who contribute to that wonderful internet resource: Widipedia.

Raclette is both a type of cheese and a fondue-like dish featuring the cheese.

The cheese

Traditional Raclette is an uncooked semi-firm, pressed salted paste made from cow's milk. However, varieties exist made with white wine, pepper, herbs, or smoked. The cheese originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also fabricated in the French regions of Savoie, Franche-Comté and Brittany.

The cheese is usually fashioned into a round of about 6 kg (13.2 lb).

Raclette. Credit: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

The dish

Raclette is also a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland and France. The Raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners' plates; the term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning "to scrape". Traditionally, it is accompanied by small firm potatoes (Bintje, Charlotte or Raclette varieties), gherkins, pickled onions, dried meats (such as prosciutto and viande des Grisons), sliced peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, paprika and fresh black pepper.

In the Swiss canton of Valais, raclette is typically eaten with tea or other warm beverages, or with a type of white wine called Fendant, made from the Chasselas grape. Drinking water along with your raclette is said to interfere with the digestion of the cheese, although this is likely an "old wives' tale" as there is no scientific basis for this. It is normally accompanied by a white wine, such as the traditional Savoie wine, a Riesling or a Pinot Gris.

Raclette was mentioned in medieval writings as a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in mountainous Switzerland. It was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or "roasted cheese." Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evenings around the campfire, they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of some bread.

A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small 'pans' to heat slices of raclette cheese in. This method of serving, although not authentic, is considered more practical by some.

Swiss Raclette Association

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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