Scrape it off, I scrape it off...
April 14, 2016 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Take a large wheel of cheese. Cut it. Melt an edge of it under a grill. Scrape, scrape, scrape and pour over potatoes. Enjoy.

Welcome to the world of Raclette, historically known as Bratchäs or "roasted cheese." Once a staple of the campfire food of Swiss cow herders, Raclette is now a centrepiece of relaxed continental European social dining.

* An Austrian advert features cheese being poured onto bread.
* Meanwhile in Québec, Canada.
* In a New York restaurant, cheese is being melted...

..."The chef at Raclette stood by the table, holding a great half wheel of warmed cheese that had started to blister and bubble along its exposed diameter. He tilted it, pressed a long knife to the top and scraped down. The cheese seemed to shrug, the melted surface giving way like the side of a mountain coming undone." - the New York Times review of that restaurant.

* A grill with triangular cheese-melting trays.
* More grilling cheese in tiny trays (warning: excessive accordion).
* A Dutchman demonstrates both the wheel of cheese and the tiny tray methods of Raclette.

Raclette is not the same as fondue, where food is dipped into molten cheese. This, for example, is a Swiss cheese fondue. Here is one in a lonely restaurant, here is a six cheese fondue, and here is a mini cheese fondue.

* Some Hi-NRG melting with ferocious bubbling.
* A hyperchef does some messy outdoor melting.
* Getting trippy with red wine and meats.

Deeper into the cheese vortex: the Cheeses of Europe video collection on Vimeo. Also, Cheesesushi.
posted by Wordshore (71 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
This happened across my Facebook feed just yesterday. Must be cheese-eating season.
posted by mr vino at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I tried a variation of this once at the downtown farmer's in Salt Lake City. The owner of a small Austrian/Viennese restaurant had a stand and this was the only thing he was selling: a big wheel of pungent emmenthaler, scraped with a heated scraper tool thingy onto a thick slice of rye.

I was dubious at first but bought it anyway because, well, cheese and rye. It was very delicious!
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:21 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


THIS IS MY FAVORITE FOOD OF ALL TIME
posted by janey47 at 7:35 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seattle mefites: We can get this at Culture Club, which is owned and operated by the spouse of our very own Lumpenprole!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:42 AM on April 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sheeiiit, I was just looking into the cost of booking a winter vacation in Paris. This may have tipped me over the edge, much like a melty layer of cheese being freed from a giant cheese wheel by a knife onto a pile of potatoes to make the best cheesy potatoes ever known to man.

Does anyone know if any place in the Chicagoland area does raclette?
posted by Fig at 7:45 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay. So, if anyone is looking for me I will be down at Raclette NYC eating all the things.
posted by slkinsey at 7:52 AM on April 14, 2016


I got a raclette grill for Christmas two years ago, and totally forgot about it until now. I think this weekend requires a raclette party.
posted by xingcat at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if any place in the Chicagoland area does raclette?


We just did it this weekend with some of this, but we're a few hours south off Chicago
posted by xorry at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes! Yes! Our Swiss friends got us a raclette grill for our wedding. We'd never seen it before and they were having issues explaining the process in English, but with a bit of Internet sleuthing we figured it out and now it's one of our favourite meals. It's so much more laid back than fondue, since you aren't worried about the cheese burning, and it's fun to experiment with things to pour cheese on. Raclette, man. Fuck yeah.
posted by olinerd at 7:57 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Must be cheese-eating season.

Fortunately, I've been training for this incredibly hard in the off-season.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:58 AM on April 14, 2016 [49 favorites]


can we just compile everywhere that any Mefite knows of where to get this because I would literally kill for this right now. I'm too hungry to see this much cheese at this point of the day.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:00 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Note for Vancouver readers; Les Amis Du Fromage on Second and Burrard will loan you a raclette grill.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


We had this a few years ago at the Cowgirl Creamery, in the San Francisco Ferry Terminal. It was fantastic!
posted by methinks at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


As the token Frenchman, I readily admit that Raclette, Fondue Savoyarde (with cheese and dry white wine) and Tartiflette (reblochon cheese melted over potatoes + onions + lardons) are the main wintertime dishes in all good French homes.
posted by thatjoachim at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Raclette grilled cheese sandwiches. Repeat: raclette grilled cheese sandwiches.
posted by the painkiller at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The token Frenchman? You must be new here.

Raclette is delicious with a dry white wine.

On a related note, I've been loving my move to Paris after discovering all the local cheesemakers. Over a year now, a different cheese every month (to get a sense for the taste range over each type) and I still haven't tried all of them.
posted by fraula at 8:09 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Raclette is delicious with a dry white wine.

Raclette is especially delicious with a dry white wine, I think you mean. I have to admit that I am not so fussy. It's pretty great with a crisp beer, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:14 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Me and my mid-life dairy intolerance will just be over here in a corner weeping piteously while you all enjoy your raclette.

*sob*
posted by briank at 8:21 AM on April 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


I had raclette only once, at a Swiss-French restaurant in Uganda (which also served just about the most amazing steak I've had anywhere in the world) and it was outstanding. I hope to try this place in NYC this summer, can't wait.
posted by clockzero at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2016


I wonder if any of the local cheesemongers sell raclette? If so, I think I know what I am eating tonight. Not sure how I will melt it, but I'll think of something. If I need to I can always consult AskMe, so be on the lookout for a question on how to improvise a raclette grill.
posted by TedW at 8:25 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


We do this as New Year's Eve meal - we have this grill-thing that is part grill part cheese-melter and, well, melted cheese sells itself. We're generally about a dozen plus grown ups and kids and it's a great way to eat.
from Amazon, if someone wants to get you a gift.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few years ago when I realized I was becoming lactose intolerant I started to despair, then I did some Googling and learned that cheese with almost any bit of aging is pretty much lactose free. And then I rejoiced because CHEESE!

Truly fresh mozzarella, or anything similar, does set me off. But Swiss cheeses like this do not. I've heard of Raclette before but this is post is a great reminder that I haven't actually tried it, for no decent reason. I see it at Trader Joe's sometimes. I don't have a grill thingy but I suppose I could just use my oven broiler.
posted by dnash at 8:32 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can confirm that Raclette NYC's offerings are quite tasty, though I longed for a few more cornichons and a bit more greens to provide more of a foil to the richness. The grilled cheese sandwich was also good, though spending $10 for takeout grilled cheese is a bit excessive.
posted by praemunire at 8:33 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whenever I host a dinner party, it's always raclette. It's a very social meal -- everyone is doing something at the table, it takes a while, and no-one is off in the kitchen working on the next course.

Plus, everyone gets cheese-drunk.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I bought my partner raclette grill a couple years ago and it is superb for dinner parties. We have one with the grill on the top—pancetta wrapped almond stuffed dates on the upper deck, raclette under the hood. FULL STACK WIN
posted by iamkimiam at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Doleful Creature: "I tried a variation of this once at the downtown farmer's in Salt Lake City."

I need specifics here. Where and when can I get some.
posted by zinon at 8:49 AM on April 14, 2016


A few years ago when I realized I was becoming lactose intolerant I started to despair, then I did some Googling and learned that cheese with almost any bit of aging is pretty much lactose free. And then I rejoiced because CHEESE!...Truly fresh mozzarella, or anything similar, does set me off. But Swiss cheeses like this do not.

Lucky you. Mine is more severe and clearly involves other things in dairy besides lactose, because almost any cheese at all is a no-go for me (along with any other dairy product you can imagine). And it's a cruel, cruel irony, because I ADORE cheese and would greedily eat ALL OF THE RACLETTE. All of it, I tell you!
posted by briank at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2016


We raclette. Love it - have a tabletop grill - cheese under and just about anything grilling up top oh boy are shrimp ever good. We went to Switzerland in order to eat raclette. Yah raclette!

It's great for having friends over as you don't have to fuss much over making a meal, and it's almost guaranteed to end up an extended bacchanalian feast. But the next day your house will smell like ass, and you'll be in a cheese coma so you won't care.

Yah raclette!
posted by parki at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


mr supermedusa lived in Switzerland once, and over the years has regaled me with his love for raclette and yet somehow I have still never had it :(

this thread inspires me to rectify that as soon as possible!
posted by supermedusa at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2016


with 30ml Swiss glasses of flinty Swiss white and tiny non-sweet cornichon pickles please, just there by the taters.

Sadly it's relatively rare to find any Vaudois white outside the country.

NB: raclette before melting can be on the stinky side.
posted by mwhybark at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


watching these videos I am compelled to quote Bourdain:

"That is the sexiest mothrfucking thing I have ever seen"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Raclette is awesome. I had it in Zurich on my honeymoon, and my wife bought me a raclette grill for my birthday last year. I love it. They're pretty widely available - she got mine on Amazon, and I've seen them in Crate and Barrel. Raclette cheese is also not hard to find. I've seen it in normal supermarkets in Columbus, although personally, I think Emmentaler tastes a little better. There's really no excuse not to try it.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:22 AM on April 14, 2016


My girlfriend is french and we get together with her friends to do the raclette thing at home and it's awesome.

If you're into melted cheese, you might also enjoy grilled provoletas.
posted by palbo at 9:25 AM on April 14, 2016


Cheese bar here in Portland does raclette during the winter months on Wednesday evenings.
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:29 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


needs a shutupandtakemymoney tag doesn't it?
holy SHIT that looks good.
posted by entropone at 9:34 AM on April 14, 2016


This is where I lament the fact that I married the only damn Frenchman that doesn't like cheese.
posted by Liesl at 9:45 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hear that's grounds for revoking his horizontally striped shirt, red kerchief and beret.
posted by slkinsey at 9:52 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


A mexican friend of mine introduced me to the concept of throwing a wheel of queso fresco on the grill. It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but it actually holds its shape. Whenever I'm grilling I'll grab a wheel or two and put em on. It doesn't get gooey and melty in the same way as raclette, but it does get nice warm tender center which is complemented nicely with the crunchy, delicious browned exterior. I suppose you could also do it in a pan on the stove, but you don't get the same incredulous looks from bystanders when you put a chunk of cheese on a grill grate.
posted by dudemanlives at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Halloumi also grills (or fries NOMS) extremely well, as does kefalotyri.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'd never heard of halloumi until I watched one of Nigella Lawson's shows where she tossed some of it into a skillet and I was all "there's a cheese you can fry??!!"
posted by dnash at 10:02 AM on April 14, 2016


I think paneer or any cheese with that same texture would work for grilling, but I haven't gone too deep down that particular rabbit hole (yet).
posted by dudemanlives at 10:02 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


We were in Zurich briefly a couple of years back. I'm so sorry I didn't know about this deliciousness. It's on our list to visit again so I'll bookmark this. I am glad to hear about the Cheese Bar, Dr. Twist. So thanks for both!
posted by Beti at 10:04 AM on April 14, 2016


Paneer does indeed fry VERY VERY WELL nomnomnom and is also VERY EASY to make at home nomnomnom
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I smelled raclette when I was five and it put me off cheese for several years

could go for some now tho
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:11 AM on April 14, 2016


Cubes of paneer, halloumi, queso fresco etc are wonderful additions to veggie kabobs.
posted by Fig at 10:17 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my head, when they put the gurkens on, I yelled "YEEEEEESSSS" so hard that I had to check and make sure I didn't also do that out loud.
posted by iamabot at 10:17 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Raclette is very tasty, but it's quite a pain to do if you don't have a specialist grill. Still, I've done it a few times, and delicious dripping cheese on potatoes, with charcuterie and pickles, yum!
posted by tavella at 10:28 AM on April 14, 2016


Easy to do with a blowtorch.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2016


I have a friend with a raclette grill and another friend who is the sales rep for a company that produces cured artisanal meats, and we got together with something like three pounds of different kinds of raclette and who knows how much smoked meat, and long story short, we almost perished in the ensuing feast. But we would have died happy.
posted by merriment at 10:31 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


i want to meet your friends please
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


My parents went to Zurich and on their return immediately bought a tabletop raclette grill. Next time I go see them I'll have to request a raclette dinner
posted by thecjm at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2016


My favorite cheese thing. It's a cast iron pan full of provolone cheese, topped with oregano and baked/broiled till all the edges, including the bottom, are brown. The oregano gets so fragrant and the cheese smells so strong coming to the table that I always burn my face on it.

Cheese. It's the only food.
posted by Night_owl at 10:48 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here are my guidelines for a successful raclette party:

Steam some broccoli and cauliflower in addition to the potatoes, to give the illusion that the meal you're serving is healthy. This way people will continue feasting and partying long into the night because, hey, what's another serving of vegetables? Make some quick pickled red onions to serve along with those cornichons, it's a dinner party after all and you're obviously a foodie who knows about weird cheeses and how to pickle things. Maybe you want to add some charcuterie or fancy meats, it can't hurt. And make sure to have at least one bottle of wine per person, it's ok if some of those bottles are two buck chuck, just save them for the end of the night.

That's it, enjoy!
posted by stripesandplaid at 10:55 AM on April 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


As a treat, my mom (she of the toasted Cheerios) would sometimes pan-fry thin slices of cream cheese as treat. It turned crispy brown on the outside and gooe-ily melting within. Wonderful!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:00 AM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


A mexican friend of mine introduced me to the concept of throwing a wheel of queso fresco on the grill. It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but it actually holds its shape.

Oh, hello. I like this idea. Next time I get invited to a barbecue party, I'll swing by the mercado and pick up some queso fresco to contribute.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Easy to do with a blowtorch.

My thoughts exactly. Probably even better with a Searzall.
posted by slkinsey at 11:37 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Damn it, my local Tuesday Morning store has had that tabletop raclette grill for months now for half the Amazon price, and I've just bought rennet to make halloumi (I already make easy-peasy queso fresco, and yogurt paneer).

I guess that's going to have to happen.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there no way to arrange thick slices of Emmenthaler on a baking sheet under the broiler, for those of us who don't want to own a single-use appliance?
posted by a halcyon day at 1:05 PM on April 14, 2016


Halcyon Day;

I don't think so. The beauty of the grill is that every single mouthful is hot gloopy cheese, melting the cheese in the oven would mean everybite past the first would be cold and rubbery.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


We had raclette for dinner two nights ago, having bought the grill over winter. You aren't allowed to live in Switzerland unless you own both a raclette grill and a fondue pot, and know how to use them. I checked the rules, it's in there.
posted by tracicle at 1:41 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: every single mouthful is hot gloopy cheese.
posted by Wordshore at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2016


Keith Talent: I'm wondering if I could toss slabs of cheese under the broiler which will heat and caramelise from the top down, then scrape off and repeat. Suspect this will require some extensive experimentation.
posted by a halcyon day at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


"for those of us who don't want to own a single-use appliance"

FWIW, my raclette grill is also marketed as a crepe maker, and I've used it for both. Really, it's just a griddle top with some space between the griddle surface and the heating element. Anything you would use a griddle for, you can use the raclette grill for.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2016


I've been able to make decent raclette with the broiler method, Halcyon Day. Unless you are keeping your house at English country house levels of chill, the cheese doesn't cool down *that* fast, especially if the potatoes are hot. I sliced the raclette fairly thickly, stuck under broiler until the top was melty, scraped off goopy cheese onto potatoes, put the sheet with the still solid bits aside, and then put it back in when we wanted the next round. It's not as convenient as a raclette grill or as picturesque as the fire version, but it tasted fine.

If you are doing a larger group, you could probably combine the broiler and blowtorch, do the first round in the broiler and then people can blowtorch remaining block of cheese when they want a refill.
posted by tavella at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you can use any grill if you're a bit careful. You can even melt the cheese in a skillet if you're even more careful (but that will most likely result in hard crunchy frico-like layer on one side that's awesome but not really raclette). The tabletops are not very expensive, though, and much more social.

But I'm pretty sure the season is almost over; maybe one more week or so, then you'll have to wait until November.

(you can always find some in the grocery stores, though, I use them for serious cheese burgers at all times of the year).
posted by effbot at 4:26 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I tried to get into Raclette NYC and found it hopelessly booked through the weekend. I blame Metafilter.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:24 PM on April 14, 2016


I have the Partyclette Raclette Grill and can testify that it is both light enough to pack miles into the backcountry for a hut trip AND that the tea candles actually DO convert the cheese into melty OMG are we in Switzerland goodness. There's nothing like being miles into the snowy backcountry with some melty cheese and bread and pickles. Oh and wine.

Also Trader Joe's sells raclette (at least seasonally) that fits into that size grill perfectly.

Melt on, MeFites!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 9:32 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Raclette brings people together: I feed eight people now and then with my Swissmar raclette-er and they stick around, chat, have a good time. This is a wonderful way to have a party no one suspects is coming. Grüner Veltliner is a fair substitute for the Vaudois wine that's mentioned upthread: try Felsner, it's not too expensive and you can find it in Whole Foods (at least in northern CA).

Get the French raclette cheese. The French are not shy about making cheese that smells like feet - and once you get over that, you're good. Cornichons for the weak, jalapenos for the strong, along with potatoes, lardons, ham, decent bread and apple-wood smoked sausages.
posted by jet_silver at 10:21 PM on April 14, 2016


Emmethaler & Raclette are very different cheeses, a halcyon day.

If you can't find raclette, cave aged gruyere seems ubiquitous these days. It doesn't melt as nice but is similarly pungent & umami-rich when grilled.

But the apex swiss cheese is bergblumenkäse. That is much much harder to find in North America though.
posted by lastobelus at 11:14 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a raclette food truck here in Montreal... potatoes, extra stuff & two generous scrapes of roasted melty cheese on top.
It's easily my favourite truck.
posted by Laura in Canada at 5:43 AM on April 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Emmethaler & Raclette are very different cheeses

Agreed completely. I've had proper raclette when I lived in Switzerland years ago, but I doubt I could buy it locally. Good quality Gruyere and Emmenthaler are available.

I'm also not a purist, so I'll stick hot slabs of damn near anything under my broiler to carve off onto bread if it tastes good.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:05 PM on April 15, 2016


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