French Raclette & Where to Eat It

Mountain Refuge in the French Alps as seen on the Tour du Mont Blanc | Chris Viney
Mountain Refuge in the French Alps as seen on the Tour du Mont Blanc | Chris Viney

French Raclette & Where to Eat It

"While the leaves fall, the cheese melts"

Ask any French person what their favourite cheesy comfort food is, and they’re likely to say Raclette. But what exactly is the dish of Raclette? 
A spread of Raclette

The world’s greatest culinary encyclopaedia, Larousse Gastronomique, describes Raclette as:

Fat cheese made from cow's milk, cooked, pressed in the shape of a wheel; a sort of fondue made from slices of this cheese, the softened part of which is gradually scraped to eat it hot with potatoes.

The origin of Raclette lies in the Savoie region of France, it is here that six producers have come together in a union to get an IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) for the cheese. The area is covered for a large part by the French Alps and it borders Switzerland and Italy, where the cheese is also heavily represented. 

On Which UTracks Trips Can I Eat Raclette?

The traditional way of melting Raclette cheese |  <i>Claudio Schwarz</i> Trekking along the incredible Val Ferret on the Tour du Mont Blanc |  <i>Ryan Graham</i> Evening dinner at Refuge Elena |  <i>Ryan Graham</i>
In the past, a half wheel of Raclette cheese would be put on the fire to melt the cheese, which would then be scraped off and draped over the potatoes. Although in traditional restaurants this method is still used, at home, most French have a grill or electric Raclette machine with small pans to melt slices of cheese in. 

Visit your local cheesemonger to ask advice on the best Raclette to use. Traditionally, Raclette cheese is eaten with small and firm potatoes, charcuterie or cold cuts and vinegar seasoned condiments such as cornichons and pickled onions. Accompany it with a kirsch or white wine such as Riesling and your autumn comfort food is complete!
Bon appétite!
PS if you like Raclette, you'll probably love another cheesy dish, aligot! This is a dish made from cheese blended into mashed potatoes (often with some garlic) that is made in L'Aubrac, France.
Aligot, a specialty of the L'Aubrac region in the southern Massif Central of France |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

Mont Blanc, France, Food, Raclette

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