There’s a smell that tells you when raclette is melting nearby. To those who love it, it’s considered funky delicious. To those who don’t, well, they just don’t understand cheese. Raclette is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese, fashioned typically into 13-pound wheels. Most commonly, it’s melted instead of cut because it produces a delightfully creamy spread of thick cheese.
At Solutions restaurant, we’re raclette experts. The term “raclette” comes from a French word, “racler” that means “scraping or scrape off.” According to written records, Raclette has been a mainstay in Swiss, German and French food since the 12th Century, with the first mention of the melting preparation in 1574. Many attribute its origin to the Valais region in Switzerland. In Switzerland today, Raclette stands for more than the cheese — it also stands for the tabletop device to melt it, the experience around melting and eating it, and as a cultural landmark for the country itself.
Traditionally, Raclette is served over potatoes. During the early days of the cheese, shepherds needed food that would not rot during their journey to the Alps. They brought potatoes and cheese, cooking the potatoes in fires and placing a slab of cheese nearby. Baked potatoes and melted cheese were obviously delicious, but it also provided them with valuable calories for their treks.
Though potatoes and cheese surely delight the palate, Raclette is now served with a great number of things, from meat to vegetables and even fish. In Switzerland hot drinks like tea, or else wine, compliment the cheese. The French love pairing it with white wines like a pinot gris or Riesling. Whatever you decide to melt the cheese on or drink with it, remember that it’s a long-standing tradition to enjoy it with some friends, family and a hearty whiff of its unique essence. Mmmmmm, cheesy.
Solutions Lounge and Restaurant serves up the hot, melty cheese over meat or vegetables — making it a vegetarian-friendly dish. See our lunch and dinner menu for the latest raclette varieties we offer.
Photos by Brennah Rosenthal