If you are like most Canadians you love giving christmas presents. But every year you face a new challenge. What can I buy my wife, husband, partner, sister, brother, friend, relative, employee or other lucky person that they don’t yet already have? No matter how hard you think of something special to give to that special person, in the end you feel like you are buying another pair of socks again. How about a raclette grill?
What is Raclette?
The name “raclette” (pronounced ruck-lett in English or rah-klett in its native French) refers to a meal and to a type of cheese with the same name. The traditional dish can be described as melted cheese eaten with boiled (or roasted) potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions. Modern electrical appliances that are used to make the dish are called Raclette grills. While the method of melting the cheese has changed over time, the raclette meal is quite easy to prepare using the simplest of ingredients and has been a long favourite for festive and fun interactive evenings.
With the tradition originating in Switzerland, Raclette, the meal, is one of Switzerland’s best loved national dishes and is very popular in other parts of Europe such as France and Germany. The most famous and best Raclette cheese is made in the alpine villages in the Swiss Alps which has a very distinct flavour and excellent melting qualities as well as being the main ingredient that makes the dish. Just like the well known Classic Cheese Fondue Raclette is another way of enjoying simple and delicious cooking incorporating lots of interactivity and of course lots of cheese.
Origin – Somewhere hidden in the valleys of the Swiss Alps…
Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking areas in the Alpine regions of the Valais canton in Switzerland. While the process of melting cheese has been around since ancient times, according to legends – local farmers or herdsmen in the valleys of the Swiss Alps set up camp for the night and the cheese that was laying around on stones at meal time, melted near the open fire and some farmer scraped it off the rock (not wanting to waste any of it of course), he then tasted it and thought it tasted divine. The idea quickly caught on amongst the group and this novel idea quickly spread throughout the valley and so the cheese became well known as the most ideal to melt. Other ingredients would accompany the meal like gherkins (pickled cucumber) and small onions and to drink; kirsch (cherry liqueur), or herbal tea.
It was a filling meal and enjoyed for its great simplicity and heartiness. The concept was simple and the melting of the raclette cheese was to become a popular way to eat it. It was comfort food at its best and the tradition eventually spread to other countries beyond the Alps from visitors travelling from afar to enjoy the famous ski resorts in the Valais region.
Modern Raclette Party Tips
If you only have a small dining table and need more place for the raclette grill and all the other ingredients, you can try elevating the raclette grill onto a mini table to enable you to use the area underneath your raclette grill.
If you are organizing a large group function and need helping hands or need to cut costs, you can ask guests to bring one/some of the accompanying ingredients e.g.. a jar of olives, capsicums, can of pineapple or wine. As there is no precooking required, this wouldn’t be too much trouble to ask anyone.
To ensure everyone gets their fair share of cheese and other ingredients, you can choose to allocate a plate with a selection of all the ingredients to each person or to share between two. This also makes all the ingredients at only arms length away and reduces the need to pass various dishes around the table.
For those who are lactose intolerant or can’t eat cheese because of dietary restrictions there is what’s known as non dairy cheese on the market based on soy beans. So you don’t have to miss out if this applies to you. Actually, raclette cheese contains only a small amount of lactose because of the way it is made.
Aside of Raclette Cheese, there are plenty of other great cheeses available at your supermarket suitable for cooking:e.g. Swiss Gold , Gruyere , Emmental , Jarlsberg , Mozzarella , Mature Cheddar. The top hot plate of your grill can be used for meat, sausages and vegetables.
A raclette grill is the perfect gift idea for many. Alone its novelty and style make it a great present. There are many reasons and groups of people who would love a raclette grill as a gift for that special occasion. So, have a look at our Swissmar Raclette Grill – and avoid the Christmas rush shopping for that very special and unique gift idea – you have found it!