Raclette Swiss Cheese is famous for being eaten hot. The name comes from the racler, which means ‘to scrape’, and describes the way that the face of the cut cheese is traditionally melted and scraped away. It is a firm cheese produced from cow’s milk, with a sweet and musty aroma and a milky, full flavour. It is usually served with potatoes and pickles and is known to skiers on both sides of the Alps and Pyrenees.
Raclette Swiss Cheese is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland. The raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates. Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire, with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. Raclette is traditionally served with boiled or steamed potatoes and some pickled items that you can also buy at the store. These include cornichons or gherkins, olives, and pickled onions. Cured meats like ham, salami, or prosciutto are also usual accompaniments.
A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans in which to melt slices of raclette cheese. This new way has been used since the 1950s. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. In Switzerland the electrical raclette is called “raclonette”. The device is put in the middle of the table. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese that are placed under the grill to melt and brown. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours.