When Brad and I were first married, we had friends who lived down the hall from us in our St. Paul apartment building who loved Raclette. The first time we tried it, it was freezing cold outside. We huddled around the table with a Raclette grill as the center piece. Around the grill were bowls and plates of vegetables, meat, and Raclette cheese. We grilled the veggies and meat on top of the grill while the cheese got melty and bubbly under the grill. It was a cozy evening complete with good wine, wonderful friends, and fantastic (and incredibly easy) food.
Here is a little information about Raclette from my friend Sonja of Raclette Corner:
"Raclette has more than one definition. Raclette is a Swiss cheese dish, a cultural land mark, the name of a cheese, a table top appliance, a dining experience, a great time!
Raclette is very popular in Europe, especially in the Swiss Alps and other ski regions. And that’s where it’s said Raclette came from.
Back in the days, Swiss shepherds from the French speaking Valais region needed to bring food up to the Alps that was relative cheap and wouldn’t spoil easily in the hot summer month. So they brought cheese and potatoes. While the potatoes roasted in the fire, a big piece of cheese was put close to the fire. Once it started melting the cheese was taken away and scraped of the cheese onto the baked potatoes. This was not only filling and nourishing but also delicious. In French ‘to scrape’ translates to ‘racler’ and this is where the term Raclette comes from.
Today, few houses have an open fire place, so to simulate the process we now have Raclette Melter that hold a block or half wheel of cheese under a heating element. Once melted, the cheese is being scraped off onto the prepared potatoes.
Another variety is a Raclette Grill, which allows melting individual portions of cheese and offers a grill top to serve grilled vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish with the cheese. Many of these models come with a reversible grill top that can be used to make crepes or pancakes. And yet another variety can be converted into a mini pizza oven."
As we head into the thick of winter, this is the perfect appliance to have on hand. It's great for entertaining, using up leftovers (anything topped with cheese is worth eating more than once!) and creating a fun family dinner. And how perfect would this be for a New Year's Eve party? Cheese, crusty bread, veggies and some bubbly are perfect ingredients for a memorable NYE party if you ask me.
If you can't access Raclette cheese (Sonja sells it on her site- click here to see more) you can use another good melting cheese like Emmentaler, which can be found at most grocery stores. Sonja has some great recipes at Raclette Corner that you can check out for some inspiration!
Are you interested yet? If the answer is yes, here is some good news for you: I'm giving away a 4 person Raclette Grill! Sonja has offered to give one of my readers a free grill (valued at $119.95) to add to your kitchen collection.
*The grill would be a great gift but may not make it to you by Christmas. *Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (we cannot ship Hawaii or Alaska either- so sorry!)