Taste the Raclette in Switzerland
Before your eyes, an exquisite feast melts slowly while you impatiently wait for bubbles to start forming on the surface of a big piece of cheese. Little by little, this velvety delicacy starts to glide on your plate and what follows is a unique gastronomic experience in which this aromatic and creamy dairy product comes together with the tastes of toasted bread, cooked vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes or tomatoes, cold cuts and the staple ingredient: pickles. This guilty pleasure is a Swiss dish that is known as raclette and has been popular since the sixteenth century.
The History of Raclette
Its name derives from the French racler that means to scrape, and it refers to the action of scraping with a knife or kitchen spatula the upper layers of cheese as they melt when you expose it to a direct heat source.
One of the stories that tell the supposed origins of the raclette says that Swiss shepherds used to take cheese wheels on their long journeys, and in the evening, when they started feeling hungry, they’d start a bonfire and place the cheese next to it so that it would melt enabling them to eat it with pieces of bread. Nowadays, this way of serving cheese has become an excellent inspiration for dinner parties in which all the guests participate in the cooking and, of course, tasting processes.
In general, this recipe is prepared with a type of cheese that is named like the dish; however, DINKtravelers recommends trying it as well with Edam cheese –a softer version of Gouda– and to avoid using most varieties of strong cheese because, apart from overshadowing the taste of the accompaniments and emanating an intense aroma, they might lose their consistency and crumble after exposing them to fire.
Raclette Wine Pairing
When you travel to Switzerland, don’t miss the chance to taste this dish that, without doubt, will give you enough energy to get through a day of rock climbing and trekking in summer or skiing in winter. Visit your favorite restaurant with a view of the Alps and order a raclette like an expert by pairing it with a dry white wine such as a dry Chenin Blanc, which will cut the creamy qualities of cheese without overshadowing its tastes. If you prefer something more refreshing like a beer, your ideal option will be a light beer or perhaps a Belgian imported pink beer. The latter will help complement the intense tastes of cold cuts thanks to its fruity notes. Are you cold? Even if it seems like a contradiction given the heat that is produced by the fire as it melts the cheese, the traditional way to eat a raclette is with a cup of tea, so you may order an herbs or mint blend.
When you travel with friends, try this interactive feast and enjoy it while you allow your dinner party to linger until dawn.