If you love melted cheese of any sort then you have Switzerland to thank for one of the gooiest, cheesiest delights you may never have tasted. Raclette involves a large wheel of cheese being thoroughly melted on top, so that the upper layer can be scraped off onto different toppings. Traditionally it was eaten with boiled potatoes and mixed pickles, but nowadays can be dumped onto almost anything from meats to vegetables to salads.
It is one of Switzerland’s most beloved national dishes with the best cheeses produced in the high villages of the Valais canton in the Swiss Alps and having a distinct flavour and melting quality. Typically, it would be drunk with warm drinks, as tradition warns that cold drinks would harden the cheese in the stomach and cause indigestion.
According to legend it all began when some shepherds were camped out for the night, accidentally allowing a raclette cheese to melt next to the fire. Not wanting to let any go to waste one of them scraped it of the rocks and realised it tasted divine.
It became popular as a delicacy in other parts of Europe, especially France and Germany, and today is known worldwide as a quirky comfort food for parties. Its popularity has even spread to New York, where a whole restaurant centres around the cheese wheel melting principle. We challenge anyone to watch this video and not crave a helping.
Photo: Marek Bereza