Thursday, April 19, 2007

The End of Raclette Season

Raclette season is coming to an end. The Swiss are very precise about everything including when raclette and fondue seasons begin and end.
I tried raclette once or twice before moving here and loved the communal spirit of the meal; it is never eaten alone, always with two, four, six or even eight people (depending on the size of he raclette machine). As soon as we moved here and unpacked I went straight out and bought a machine to have the melted-drippy-cheesy dish at home.
The machine is essentially a griddle that sits up on top of a heating element, while beneath the element sits a number of small pans in which raclette cheese slices are placed and slipped back under the heating coils to melt. On top of the griddle, small sausages or meat medallions, along with vegetables are grilled. The melted-drippy-cheese is poured over steamed potatoes, small gherkins and pickled onions.
All of it is so stinkin’ good! ‘Stinkin’ might be the word of import here, as the smell of the cooking cheese is quite pronounced (much to my eldest daughter’s dismay— she is a devout cheese-hater and insists on sitting next to a cracked open window in the dining room, while shoving her face through to the fresh air, even in winter.)
Anyway, it’s warming up now and soon, all Swiss-respecting cheese mongers will pull the raclette and fondue cheeses from their coolers, not to be seen again until next November.
Auf Wiedersehen mein süsser Käse!

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