All You Need to Know about Raclette Cheese
Prepare for your weekly dose of drool-worthy cheese content from us here at, well, Cheese. If you’ve never heard of raclette then you’ll want to quickly hop on social media and do a search for this type of Insta-worthy cheese.
Sure, you might have thought that all those foodie accounts showing off mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese and homemade mac and cheese recipes induced a lot of drooling. But, there’ something pretty special about raclette cheese.
After a simple search, you’ll find out that it’s pretty expensive. So, why is raclette cheese so expensive and what made it famous in the first place? We’ve got all the ooey-gooey, cheesy details for you here.
Where is Raclette Cheese From?
So, let’s start off by saying that the term “raclette” actually refers to the semi-hard cow’s milk cheese, not the apparatus they use to scrape it. The name, however, was inspired by the preparation method. “Raclette” is derived from a French word that means “to scrape.” And, if you’ve ever seen them scrape this warm, gooey cheese onto a plate of pasta then you’ll understand the name.
Historians have found mentions of raclette cheese as far back as 1291 and it’s got its origins in the canton of Valais (near the Matterhorn) of Switzerland. It reportedly became so popular due to the fact that it was incredibly easy to transport. When travelling, shepherds and farmers would place the cheese next to the campfire to slightly melt it and then spread it on vegetables and other foods.
This isn’t to be confused with famous Swiss fondue cheese. It’s a bit different. How? The act of scraping which, as we’ve mentioned, is literally what raclette means. To get raclette cheese out, you scrape it onto other foods. Fondue cheese is used for dipping. They’re both just as tasty, however, especially if you’re using them as part of a larger recipe like a grilled cheese sandwich.
Why is Raclette Cheese So Expensive?
Is raclette cheese expensive? It depends where you get it. In some supermarkets, you can simply walk in and buy it. However, if you’re dining in a fancy Parisian or Swiss restaurant, you’ll note higher price tags, and that really comes down to the theatrics of it all. However, raclette cheese is somewhat expensive regardless and it’s due to the way in which it’s made.
To start with, Swiss raclette cheese is only made from high-quality milk. This usually means that they use grass-fed cows to produce the milk and add special bacterial strains to that in order to create lactic acid and secondary metabolic flavor.
So, you can imagine just what kinds of costs that process racks up. Then, on top of it all, they have to press the wheels into shape and soak them in a salt brine, processes that other types of cheeses don’t always go through. They’ve then got to age them for three to six months, which adds a bit of exclusivity to the cheese. It means producers can’t sell as many wheels due to the amount of time it requires to age it.
What’s In a Raclette Dinner?
So, we’ve answered your question as to why raclette cheese is so expensive. But, what’s included in a raclette dinner? It depends where you go. But, they’re pretty popular currently all over Paris and feature a variety of ingredients.
Usually, a raclette dinner requires a few things: a raclette grill, raclette cheese, bread, potatoes, meat, and veggies. You’ll use the raclette grill to heat the cheese which you’ll then scrape onto the various foods you’ll be devouring. You might notice that if raclette cheese isn’t available, people use other Alpine cheeses as a tasty substitute.
Chefs recommend using mushrooms, asparagus, onions, boiled potatoes, and peppers as veggies for a raclette dinner. And, they also suggest sticking with meats that don’t take long to cook, such as shrimp and beef. Potatoes are a staple, as is bread, so you can count on being able to find both at most, if not all, raclette dinners.
Saving Cheese for a Fancy Raclette Dinner
Want to treat yourself, your friends or your family to a fancy raclette dinner? After all, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the theatrics of raclette live and in-person. But, to afford it all, you might have to save some cheese to spend on that...cheese.
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