The word 'Raclette' can be used to refer to three things - a particular type of cheese, a grill that is placed on the dining table to melt cheese, and a type of meal or a manner of eating.
The Raclette cheese is a Swiss semi-firm cows-milk cheese that is very popular in Switzerland, and although originally from the Alps, it is also made in France. Good Raclette cheese is mild, creamy and slightly nutty, and is very ideal for melting. The classic use of Raclette cheese involves melting it and serving it with boiled potatoes, pickled onions, a variety of sliced meats, and vegetables. Most people believe that fondues is the most popular dish in Switzerland when it fact, Raclette is actually more popular than fondue in most parts of Switzerland. The term Raclette comes from the French word racler, which means "to scrape", pertaining to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from a grill and on to the plate of the diner.
Raclette cheese can be melted into different kinds of dishes, even fondue, or it may be eaten plain. Its creamy, mild taste fits well with an assortment of things, which is why Raclette cheese is a favorite for quick snacks and dinner cheese platters. A lot of people nowadays enjoy these Raclette dinners because they make a great venue for catching up with friends without the tedious food preparation.
For most of use who have just recently discovered Raclette may feel like we have stumbled on to the latest and perhaps the most enjoyable dinner party trend ever. A Raclette meal is pretty much like a fondue party, but better - the same socializing, but with more cooking options. Aside from being absolutely fun for the guests, a Raclette meal is also one of the easiest parties to hose. This is because much of the food preparation can be done ahead, while the cleanup afterwards is equally simple.
In a nutshell, Raclette party goes like this.
The Raclette grill usually serves about up to eight people, and can take different shapes - some Raclette grills are rectangular while some are round or oblong in shape. Although traditionally, the Raclette grill is made of wood, modern Raclette grills are available in most department stores today. While the cheese melts on the grill, the guests get to cook their own meats, sausages, fish and even vegetables on the grill. The melted cheese on the trays is then scraped out and onto a selection of side dishes (the most common of all, are small boiled potatoes). Guests cook, talk, eat, and repeat the entire process often a few times, for several enjoyable hours.
Be sure to offer your guests a cocktail, something dry but not too sweet - perhaps a good old wine or a martini. But what good would your Raclette party be if you do not have the best Raclette cheese? Organize your next Raclette party and order Raclette cheese today!
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