Raclette comes from the French word Raclerâ, which means “to scrape.” It is a cheese traditionally eaten in Switzerland. The Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains. In the evenings around the campfire, they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of some bread. Today we use fancy machines to do the melting, but the results are just as tasty. The cheese has a mellow, slightly funky flavor that makes it the perfect accompaniment to almost anything, and the texture is ideal for melting.
Throwing a Raclette Party is easy. The key is to have a nice variety of meats, veggies and bread for topping with the gooey cheese. There are 2 kinds of raclette machines: one holds a quarter wheel of the cheese and heats it under a lamp, the other heats individual portions of cheese on little pans. If you don’t have a raclette machine you can use a nonstick pan to melt slabs of the cheese, it’s just a little messier.
Here are some of our favorite things to serve with raclette:
Vegetables: Small Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Butternut Squash, Cipolline Onions, Cauliflower
Meats: Prosciutto, Speck, Jambon Royale, Finocchiona Salami, Chorizo, Roasted Pork
Fruits that go with cheese: Sliced pears, sliced apples
Fruits to refresh the palate: Grapes, Berries, Dried fruits
Acidic and briny bites to refresh the palate: Cornichons, Olives
It’s true: The easiest, tastiest way to host your friends and family for the holidays is with a fantastic cheese spread. Whether you’re a cheese newbie or a fromage fanatic, this season’s latest and greatest party cheeses will help you plan your most delicious gathering. So sit back, let your mind drift to the gooey, the crumbly, the yummiest cheeses of the season.
Getting started: A great party spread has up to 6 cheeses of all different styles and milk types. We suggest delighting your guests with a mix of buttery, grassy, pungent or caramelly tastes.
More than just cheese: When picking accompaniments, from wine to nuts, pick a pairing principle:
- Choose items that are complementary – pair similar flavors together, like a flavorful cheddar with a bold wine;
- That old adage is true with cheese, too: opposites attract. Don’t be shy about mixing sweet with salty;
- What grows together goes together – you can’t go wrong with cheese and pairings from the same neck of the woods.
Not sure how much to buy? Our rule of thumb is 1-2 oz per cheese, per person for a party or an appetizer spread before dinner. (most of our assortments serve up to10)
Serving Sense: Cheese tastes better at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge one hour before serving. For a party, set out on a board with one knife per cheese – start cutting into each piece to get it started, then let your guests go to town.
Sommelier for a day: Want to impress by pairing cheese with wine or beer like an expert? Click here to view our full beverage pairing guide.
Learn even more by going reading our Cheese Basics.
- New assortment for the holiday season: Cheeselovers Anonymous
Cheeselovers Anonymous (pictured above) features a complete tasting through all of the cheese styles – we couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect party package!