All about that raclette!


​Today’s blog will hopefully have your mouth watering as you think about how delicious our cheese is going to be! Betty made a wonderful homemade raclette that we cut into this last week, and it motivated us to want to tell you a bit more about raclette and how it’s eaten.

raclette Betty made
raclette Betty made

We are going to be making a raclette at East Hill Creamery, and it will be called Underpass, so hopefully reading this today will inspire you to try some when it becomes available sometime in 2016.
​Raclette was mentioned in medieval writings all the way back in 1291. Peasants in the mountainous regions of Switzerland and France were the first consumers of raclette, which was known as “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, Swiss cow herders would take it with them when they were moving cows up in the mountains. In the evenings when they had a campfire, they would place the cheese next to the fire to melt it and then scrape it onto bread, very similar to how it’s consumed today.
A wheel of raclette is heated up, often by a special macimagehine (but a microwave works just fine too), and then scraped onto whatever food it’s being consumed with. Traditionally the melting happened in front of an open fire with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. You can see from the photos that we took in France how they attach a half wheel of cheese to the base of the machine and then the heater melts the cheese. The only trick is to have an electric outlet at or near each table in order to be able to plug the melter machine into. The other option is to buy a raclette machine where you place a slice of raclette onto a small tray and then slide it into a machine that melts it.

This photo was taken at a restaraunt we visited in France last fall where people were enjoying raclette cheese.
This photo was taken at a restaraunt we visited in France last fall where people were enjoying raclette cheese.

They use the metal scraper to scrape the melted cheese off the wheel onto their plate of potatoes, veggies, etc. The name for this cheese comes from the French word raclette – which means “to scrape,” – since enjoying raclette means scraping the cheese from the grill to the plate.

photo of raclette machine in France
photo of raclette machine in France

Raclette is a great cheese to start with, as it has a mild, not very strong flavor. Some great ways to eat raclette are as a toasted cheese sandwich or on top of vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. At the Burley household, we melted some of Betty’s homemade raclette over roast beef sandwiches, and that was wonderful! Traditionally, raclette is served with potatoes and pickles and sliced ham, and also mixed green salad. Raclette is similar to fondue but provides an even more social and relaxed experience for diners, as all foods are prepared at the table using a raclette grille.

traditional meal served with raclette
traditional meal served with raclette

Gatherings can last hours and in modern times became a hit with families and friends on ski trips in the French and Swiss alps. Light beer or a light-bodied, dry white wine with ample acidity are great beverage pairings with raclette.
​We hope we have got your tastebuds ready to try some delicious raclette from East Hill Creamery.  ​We hope we have got your tastebuds ready to try some delicious raclette from East Hill Creamery. We encourage local restaurants to try it, use it, and feature it. Be sure to keep your eye out in 2016 for some delicious East Hill Creamery Underpass raclette—we know you will love it as much as we love the homemade stuff Betty has spoiled us with thus far! Thanks for reading today!

update from the Creamery progress--getting closer to that raclette cheese being made!--Gary took this photo while standing on top of the cheese caves
update from the Creamery progress--getting closer to that raclette cheese being made!--Gary took this photo while standing on top of the cheese caves