Infobox Cheese
name = Raclette

othernames =
country = Switzerland
regiontown = Valais
region =
town =
source = Cows
pasteurised = No
texture = uncooked, semi-firm,
fat =
protein =
dimensions =
weight =
aging = 3-6 months
certification = AOC 2003

Raclette (IPAEng|raˡklɛt) is both a type of cheese and, informally, a dish featuring the cheese.

The cheese

Traditional Raclette is a semi-firm, salted cheese 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 produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté.

The cheese is usually fashioned into a round of about 6 kg (13 lb).

The dish

Raclette is also a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland, Wallonia 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 meat, such as prosciutto and "viande des Grisons", sliced peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, pears, and dusted with paprika and fresh-ground 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', known as "coupelles", to heat slices of raclette cheese in. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables, charcuterie, and perhaps seafood. Diners create their own small packages of food by cooking small amounts of meat, vegetables and seafood on the griddle. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese in the small, wedge-shaped coupelles that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The accent in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours. French and other European supermarkets generally stock both the grill apparatus and ready-sliced cheese and charcuterie selections for use with it. Restaurants also provide raclette evenings for parties of diners.

External links

* [http://raclette-suisse.ch/home.html?l=en Raclette Suisse] - Swiss manufacturers' association
* [http://www.raclette.com.au/raclette_info/what_is_raclette.html What is Raclette]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • raclette — [ra klet′] n. [Fr < racler, to scrape < VL * rasclare (for * rasiculare) < L rasus, a scraping, orig., pp. of radere: see RAT] a Swiss dish of cheese melted before an open fire, scraped onto a plate, and served with boiled potatoes and… …   English World dictionary

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  • Raclette — 1Ra|clette* [ raklɛt, ra klɛt] der; s, s <aus gleichbed. fr. raclette, eigtl. »Kratzeisen«, zu racler »abkratzen, streifen«, dies über das Galloroman. aus lat. radere, vgl. ↑radieren> rahmiger, halbharter, aus Kuhmilch hergestellter Käse… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • raclette — nf., petit racle ; raclette de ramoneur ; spécialité culinaire, d origine suisse, à base de fromage que l on fait fondre (CSE.50) : RÂKLyÈTA (Villards Thônes.028b | 028a, Albanais.001, Annecy, Thônes). A1) raclette // planchette raclette qui sert …   Dictionnaire Français-Savoyard

  • RACLETTE — n. f. T. d’Arts Petite racle. Une raclette de ramoneur. La raclette d’un boulanger …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

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