You say you want a revolution? Let it be cheese. . .
On a late February evening, on an unseasonably warm evening, my friend Roz and I sip Prosecco al fresco on the porch of The Lambertville House. Like so many conversations with friends, the subject of cheese bubbles up and turns to. . . raclette. I say, “like fondue?” remembering the brown enamel fondue pot of my mother’s 70’s kitchen, complete with little forks and a few flashbacks of a dinner guest or two gently stumbling around the faux brick floored family room, cocktails in hand as The Mod Squad played on the TV with the volume turned down.
Raclette, like fondue, is ultimately about cheese, and as Roz explains, I begin to get the picture. Unlike fondue, which is melted in a pot, “raclette”, a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese from the French-speaking Valais region of Switzerland, is scraped. You begin with a wheel of raclette, cut in half and melted. Then, once the cheese is oozing, it's scraped and served over potatoes and meat with cornichons and pickled onions on the side. The word "raclette" itself can refer to the cheese, the appliance used to make it, or the communal experience of melting and eating the cheese.
If the 60's had their fondue "moment" I think the post millennial, pre-apocalyptic world we're living in now could use a retro food revolution, and I say "let it be cheese"-- specifically raclette. In Fort Myers, Florida, raclette has entered the hip pocket of food trucks, so you're likely to see it rolling into a town near you soon. If, like me, you can't wait that long, take a trip to Raclette, NYC and experience traditional savory raclette, but also taste the sweet side with a Croque St. Michel, made with preserves, bittersweet chocolate and from age blanc, oh my!
May the retro raclette revolution begin!