With colder weather comes the requests for one of winter's most popular cheeses: Raclette. Originating in Switzerland around the 13th century, the name “raclette” comes from the French word “racler,” which means “to scrape," referring to how the cheese is traditionally melted and scraped onto a plate of potatoes, roasted vegetables, and various meats. Raclette was originally created by Alpine shepherds as a way to preserve surplus spring and summer milk so that it could be enjoyed and utilized during the harsh winters when milk was scarce. Today, Raclette is made and enjoyed all over the world, most notably in the Alpine regions of France and Switzerland. This washed-rind cow's milk cheese is the perfect balance of nutty and funky, and when melted, becomes a silky, luxurious treat.
So, how do you decide which Raclette(s) to carry when there are so many different and delicious options on the market these days? In order to please everyone (or at least try to), we recommend offering a minimum of 3 varieties during peak Raclette months (October through March):
- Swiss Raclette (we recommend Raclette du Valais AOP)
- French Raclette
- Domestic Raclette (we recommend Reading Raclette from VT or Alpinage Raclette from WI)
- Flavor-added Raclette (popular flavors include smoked, truffle, peppercorn, chili, and herb)
We recommend selecting 2 classic Raclettes from the above categories, and at least 1 flavored Raclette, making sure that you offer at least 1 pasteurized option for those who need it. Everyone should be able to enjoy this hot, melty treat!
If and when your customer asks how much cheese they should order, we recommend accounting for 1/2lb per adult as a main course, or 1/4lb per adult as an appetizer.
If you want to go the extra mile for your customers, you can offer to slice their Raclette for them. Getting those thin, even slices can be difficult and offering this added service is a great way to build rapport and trust with your customers, and keep them coming back for more.
Don't forget to wrap their Raclette in Formaticum cheese paper to keep that beautiful flavor fresh - ensure that your customers are able to experience the full flavor of those lush Alpine pastures, as the cheesemakers intended.