Is raclette as awesome as it sounds?

Raclette is both a type of cheese and a Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off (racler) the melted part.


I react to cheese the way most of the Internet reacts to bacon. Is this as awesome as it sounds? Can you use any kind of cheese? I’m drooling.

I’ve never had it but it does look and sound good.

I’ve had it a couple of times. Back in the '70s, a raclette iron (is that the term?) was to Swiss households what a waffle iron was to American households — everyone had 'em, and they were used semi-frequently for semi-special occasions.

One key is what you scrape the cheese onto. Potatoes are always a good bet.

The other key is the cheese itself. Whatever sheese my Swiss hosts used — it was probably raclette — was a Swiss-type cheese, which I find waxy (even melted) and sour. But if you like, say, Emmental or Gruyere, then this is definitely the dish for you.

And if you don’t, try it with cheddar. :slight_smile:

Sure sounds awesome… and there is a similar Greek dish in which you douse cheese with spirits, set it on fire, then eat the bubbly melting leftovers. I’ve had that and it’s AWESOME.

Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. Actually, even more awesome than that. I’ve only had it in restaurants, so don’t know what kind of cheeses would work, but I think you want to start with something semi-soft like actual raclette, although this says any smooth-melting cheese will work.

Mmmm, raclette…

Yes, it is awesome. Much better than fondue, IMO.

I’m a cheesemonger. I like Raclette (the cheese) a lot, but many people say it smells like cow poop. It’s a washed rind cheese, which gives it a strong, sharp, distinct flavor quite unlike most ‘sharp’ cheeses most have had. And a very pungent smell.

It does melt well, and I love melted cheese. One doesn’t need a raclette grill to do it well either.

Agreed on it being better than fondue but, while it IS awesome, it’s awesome in the same way as having a kitchen blowtorch is - it’s a lot of fun when you do it but you do it a lot less than you’d expected to when you started.
You can do it with pretty much any cheese that you’d consider putting on a pizza ie definitely not cottage cheese but most things from semi-hard upwards should work OK. I can’t comment on how much mileage you’d get out of blue cheeses as I can’t stand them.

I guessed it was a sport. Some kind of winter racquetball, perhaps.

It is awesome. It’s really sort of a backwards fondue, so it’s awesomeness depends on the awsomeness of the cheese and the stuff that the cheese goes on.

I prefer fondue. The raclette I had was boring and bland, but it really depends on what cheese you use.

It is delicious. Use a variety of cheeses. Electric raclette grills are inexpensive and work fine. We got one for under $50 that has 8 different trays and a griddle on top. Raclette cheese is similar to Swiss, somewhat sweeter. A lot of cheeses are much better once they begin to brown. A friend of mine who spent time in France says raclette is much more popular there than fondue. Mozzerella, gruyere, cheddar, swiss, and gouda all work great. I don’t remember every variety we tried, but all of them were good.

It’s even more social than it is delicious. I’ve only ever had it at home, and you sit around this table grill, and everyone has their own little pan to put stuff in - you can get really creative and fry bacon bits or boiled egg slices or even little pieces of fruit (blasphemy!). You just need lots of little dishes all around the table, and since you spend more time preparing and cooking than actually eating, you tend to talk a lot. It makes for a very nice atmosphere, and the cook doesn’t have to slave in the kitchen for hours on end, since you only need to prepare the ingredients, which makes it very suitable for parties, holidays or other occasions where the host tends to be under a lot of stress anyway. The downside is you need at least one pan per person, but you can usually borrow another set from a neighbor if you have a larger company.

I would say so.
I’ve had fondue maybe once in my life, but a winter without raclette is not a true winter for me. No friends of ours will turn down an offer to have raclette for dinner! The boring part is remembering to cook the potatoes in advance and to clean out all the little pans after.

It is every bit as gloriously awesome as it sounds! I had it for the first time about 5 years ago when I moved to Germany. I do the Christmas thing with my roommate’s family and raclette is the tradition on the 24th. The last 2 years we’ve been hosting and we always prepare so much more than we need so between then and New Years the raclette grill stays out on the table. I take the foil off the leftovers and literally eat raclette 2-3 meals a day for a week. Oh what a wonderfully decadent week! It is definitely a highlight of winter for me.

There’s tons of stuff you can use with it too. Traditionally we have corn, potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, pineapples, onions, and maybe something else I’m missing. Meats and shrimp are cooked on the top grill separately from the cheese portions.

Damn, still 5 months away.

I had it in Switzerland several times, and in Berlin we had that little raclette grill for the table.

Very tasty, and yes - kinda fun to have all the different combos on the table and let people make their own variations.

That said, even in Europe it wasn’t cheap - you did this for special occasions - and there was quite a bit of pre-preparation involved - cutting everything in small pieces, preparing them, finding room on the table for all of the little bowls and sauces etc. It was also somewhat time consuming, and if you were really hungry you were out of luck as it took awhile for each (rather tiny) portion to prepare.

However, if you want to have a table with exactly four people sitting around and chatting and taking your time to eat, it is a perfect way to kill an evening and everyone can pretty much design/make/eat exactly what they like and want.

I did a raclette at home a few months ago, and I don’t have any of the special equipment. I just picked up a bagette, fingerling potatoes, a couple kinds of cured meats, and real raclette cheese. I just melted it a little bit at a time in a skillet and poured it onto the goodies.

I love raclette. I had never heard of it before our trip to Switzerland. We had a guy in our lab who is Swiss and he recommended it. I loved it. It was so much fun melting the cheese then scraping it off and eating the hot cheese with bread, potatos, onions and pickles. The pickles seemed strange, but they were surprisingly good with cheese. I don’t know if every place serves raclette with the heater thing though. I’ve seen places where they just have one big heater and they scrape off a bunch onto your plate then serve you. I would very much recommend the full experience where you get to scrape your own. I like getting it to slightly brown then scraping.

In the raclette places in Paris I went to, there wasn’t really “scraping” from a single block of cheese. Each table got a mini skillet and slices of raclette cheese to melt and pour.

That’s the way it’s shown in the pictures. I’ve only seen the electric raclette grills in person. We have something like this one. But before I got that I just put some cheese in a small cast iron pan and put it in the oven. Once you start eating bubbly browned cheese you won’t care much about the mechanics of the process.