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Raclette cheese is a cheese lovers dream. A melted, gooey, delicious cheese that is typically poured over food. Keep reading to learn more about this wonderful cheese.
Did you know that cheese was actually invented by accident? Yes, it’s true. It all dates back 4000 years when cow stomachs were used as milk storage containers, leading to accidental cheese production.
Today, its production outweighs coffee, tobacco, and tea combined. We enjoy 2000+ varieties of this delicacy. While you have probably heard of cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, and feta, there are also other premium types of cheese.
One of them is the Swiss raclette cheese. Keep reading ahead to learn how this cheese could be a delicious addition to your menus if it isn’t already.
What is raclette cheese?
If you haven’t heard about raclette cheese, you’re missing out on one of the best members of the cheese family. Raclette is a Swiss-origin cheese that is famous for its incredibly gooey texture, which is also why it’s the melting cheese.
Apart from its melting nature, raclette is known to be a very aromatic cheese.
Did you know raclette is not just the name of this cheese? In fact, the word raclette also refers to the traditional Alpine meal prepared by melting cheese and scraping it off to serve over boiled potatoes.
Locals also use pickled vegetables and ham in raclette meals, but the most favorite of all is serving the cheese with locally cured meat, mostly beef, called bündnerfleisch.
In Switzerland, raclette is a very popular after-ski snack to warm the body along with fondues.
What does raclette taste like?
Raclette cheese’s taste varies depending upon where you’re getting it from.
Swiss raclette tends to be slightly sweet, salty, and has a nutty flavor. French raclette is more buttery than the Swiss ones. Regardless, the flavor is not intense. It’s more of a mellow, moderately strong taste.
Another fun fact about raclette is that its aroma grows stronger as the cheese ages. However, the aromatic scent does not mean a sharper flavor.
Raclette is often compared to its Swiss brother, Gruyère cheese. The only difference—Gruyère is aged more and is harder than compared to a semi-hard raclette.
As delicious as the pure cheese is itself, the flavor is often enhanced by herbs and seasoning such as garlic, truffles, and peppercorns. Raclette is also infused with mustard seeds and locally produced sweet white wine. They’re incredible in kicking raclette’s original flavor up a notch.
Where does Raclette Cheese come from?
Raclette hails from the lands of the Swiss. This cheese is made from the milk of Alpine cows grazing over the fresh green meadows of the Alps. Pure natural feed gives it immense nutritional value and taste. Both the cheese and the traditional dish are unique to Switzerland.
It dates back to the Middle Ages. To keep themselves warm in the snowy Alps range, farmers used to heat it over the fire and indulged in a hearty meal to conserve their strength.
As a matter of fact, the Swiss country is the largest supplier of raclette cheese, fulfilling 80% of the world’s needs.
However, raclette does have some French origins to it. The word itself is derived from the French word ‘racler,’ meaning to scrape, just like how the melted cheese is scraped over meals.
France makes raclette from the cows present on its side of the Alps, as does the US from its own share of the mountain cows. But both French and American production comes nowhere close to the Swiss raclette.
So if you want to taste the authentic raclette, you’ll have to visit Switzerland. Its Valais region makes the most flavorsome raclette in all of Switzerland. Valaisan raclette cheese is available in the market as Raclette du Valais, whereas you can find Swiss raclette by Raclette Suisse.
Raclette cheese is now made and enjoyed all around the globe, but the best of it comes from the Swiss Alps.
How is Swiss Raclette made?
The key to ensuring raclette’s unique taste is using high-quality milk of cows with an utterly natural feed, preferably fresh grass.
However, some areas also use goat's milk to make raclette.
The Valaisan raclette firmly stays true to its tradition of using unpasteurized milk. These tried and tested methods make Valais raclette stand out the most. This raclette has a unique floral taste to it. Other Swiss methods use slightly warmer milk and vary between raw or pasteurized milk.
It takes a long labor of love to produce the most high-quality raclette. The process goes as follows:
- Raclette has no additives except for certain bacteria strains.
- The bacteria combine with milk to form lactic acid and other flavor-enhancing metabolic products.
- It is then molded into wheels and soaked in salt brine.
- Furthermore, a mixture of yeast and other bacteria is layered upon it.
- These cheese wheels go into their new home, a cellar with wood shelves, for the next three to six months until it is ready.
Thorough attention is paid to raclette to produce high-quality cheese. Even the wooden shelves in the cellar are not ordinary. They use a particular red pine to keep the air moist for the cheese.
That’s not all. During these months, cheese is regularly turned and washed. The outcome of this long process is ivory to pale yellow cheese with little holes and an edible orange-brown rind.
Commercially, raclette is available both in wheels and in rectangular form, like most blocks of cheese.
How to use Raclette Cheese
The best thing you’ll find about raclette is its versatility in use. Unlike grease, the fat content of this cheese doesn’t pool and separate, making it the ideal melted cheese. Any dish that requires melted cheese can easily use a raclette.
Apart from the raclette meal, you will find it in burgers, pizza, sandwiches, casseroles, etc. You can use it as an appetizer, a side dish, topping, or even a main dish.
Special electric raclette grills also melt the cheese and serve the raclette dish. Restaurants, nowadays, use special heating apparatus to melt raclette, but you can enjoy this delicacy by melting it over a fire as locals do.
You can even grate or cut and use it in any way you like! There is no particular method to use raclette cheese.
A variety of different dishes can be made with raclette, which is as follows:
How to melt Raclette Cheese
Raclette cheese can be melted in a skillet, in a baking dish, or a special raclette machine.
Raclette Cheese Substitute
Some wonderful substitutes include asiago cheese, fontina cheese, Jarlsberg, Gruyere, and more.
How to store the Best Cheese for Raclette
The best way to store this cheese is to wrap it in parchment paper and then store in an airtight container or zip bag. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to eat. It will typically last for up to 6 weeks, just keep an eye out for mold.
How long does Raclette Cheese last?
Raclette cheese can last if stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Best Raclette Cheese Nutrition Facts
There is a common perception that cheeses are not healthy for you. They have the fat content that people think is bad for cholesterol levels and cause cardiovascular diseases.
So is this true? It might be true for other cheeses, but not Raclette.
Another interesting bit is that even though raclette is made from milk, it's actually lactose-free.
The entire process of making raclette removes this natural sugar from the cheese.
So lactose intolerant people can easily enjoy raclette.
Did you know that most cheeses are gluten-free? The only exception to this is blue cheese and those washed with beer. Since the process of making raclette cheese uses no beer, it is entirely gluten-free.
However, it is advised to check cheese packaging to confirm your cheese of choice really is gluten-free.
The good news for people on a keto or low-carb diet is that they can enjoy raclette cheese because of its nutritional content.
One serving of raclette, weighing 100g, has 25g of protein, 27g of fat, and just 0.1g of carbs in total.
So, it's high fat, high protein, and minimal to no carbs make it a perfect choice for such diets.
There are concerns that its fat content is mainly saturated and can be dangerous. So enjoy in moderation, and you’ll be good.
Along with these macronutrients, raclette cheese is rich in Vitamin A and Calcium, which have immense health benefits.
Vitamin A is very beneficial for the eyes, immune system, and cell growth. In contrast, Calcium is excellent for bone development and your muscles.
So, the ultimate consensus is that the highly nutritious raclette cheese does wonders for your health.
Swiss Raclette Cheese Conclusion
The melting properties and incredible taste make raclette cheese a great addition to the food world. We can thank the Swiss for the long months they spent perfecting it and introducing us to this incredibly delicious cheese.
With raclette, you won’t even have to worry about how to use it and in what; its versatility makes the job so easy!
Add in the health benefits, and you’ve got the perfect package to indulge with no guilt.
Swiss Raclette Cheese FAQs
Raclette and Gruyere are very similar. They are both Swiss Alpine cheese. Raclette is a semi-hard cheese and Gruyere is considered a hard cheese.
Raclette is a Swiss cheese.
Traditionally raclette cheese is served with potatoes, gherkins, charcuterie, and pickled onions.