Raclette is food elevated into performance art. It is a culinary action movie played out in one swift, grand scraping gesture as bubbles rise on the cheese’s surface, fires flaming all around, cooked to a ravenous soundtrack of winter cheer. Let me explain… Raclette is served as half a wheel of cheese, melted, most often at the table, on a heat lamp or over open flame, and then pleasingly scraped from the wheel onto an adoring crowd of boiled potatoes, charcuterie, cornichons and pickled silverskin onions — which helps to counter the rich, all-conquering flavour of the cheese.
The name derives from the French racler (to scrape), but it’s also known in Swiss-German as Bratkäse and there is little difference between the two. Except perhaps in Switzerland where it’s often served with Bündnerfleisch (cured beef), where in France it’s most often cuts of pork like Jambon de Savoie or saucisson sec, and a salad inexplicably smothered with salad cream on the side. But served, either way, it’s the king of winter cheeses.