Discover Swiss Raclette dinner ideas to plan an incredible experience of good food and with good friends.
My girlfriends and I recently enjoyed a special Swiss-inspired evening at the home of an adorable couple, Debi and Tim Spadino.
Debi is originally from a small town near Zurich, Switzerland, and Tim is from Hudson, Wisconsin.
The two met at a youth program in Colorado, married, had children, and now divide their time between the US and Switzerland.
A European Raclette Dinner Party in Wisconsin
Our group booked a delightful “A Taste of the Alps” dinner experience at their Wisconins farm, where Debi shared her Swiss-roots tradition of Raclette.
The festivities took place in a charming restored farm building on their property, the Pioneer Bakery-Smokehouse.
It is one of the oldest farm buildings in St. Croix County, Wisconsin.
The night was filled with lively conversation, a roaring fire, and tasty food, all with this incredible historical backdrop.
What is Raclette?
Raclette is very popular in Europe and native to Switzerland, where it is embraced and adored.
It refers to two different things. Raclette is a type of traditional Swiss melting cheese, and it is also a meal that is centered around raclette cheese.
What is Swiss Raclette Cheese?
Raclette cheese is an aged semi-hard cheese made from raw cow’s milk. This type of cheese has a rich and savory flavor.
Raclette originated in southern Switzerland’s Rhône valley. Today it is produced throughout Switzerland.
The History of Raclette
Raclette is a tradition that dates to the 13th century. The word Raclette comes from the French word meaning “to scrape.”
Traditionally Raclette was served by melting a wheel of cheese in front of an open fire and scraping the melted cheese onto a plate with food
for a hearty meal.
Since the 1950s, the new standard for serving Raclette includes an electric raclette grill with a hot plate cooking surface, with multiple little pans (coupelles) for melting cheese, all surrounding the main heating element.
Most Swiss homes have a raclette grill top, usually with 2, 4, or 6 burners.
The grill is placed in the middle of the table.
The food and cheese are sliced, served on individual plates, and ready to cook on top of the grill.
Slices of raclette cheese (trenches) are melted and browned in the trays. The trays can then be individually slid in and out to transfer the melted cheese to your plate.
Guests gather around the table for fun and conversation while everyone cooks their meal.
A Raclette dinner party is loved because it is a casual and jovial experience. Everyone enjoys the extended meal with lots of eating, drinking, and fellowship.
Swiss Raclette Dinner Ideas
According to Debi, the secret star of Raclette meals starts with melted cheese. She then sprinkles it with Raclette seasoning, a mixture of pepper, nutmeg, and sometimes paprika.
The cheese slices are melted in the grill trays and then poured on top of the pre-steamed potatoes.
The potatoes are also accompanied by a variety of meat (bacon, beef, etc.) or dried meat (such as jambon or salami).
She also includes vegetables (such as peppers and onions), mushrooms, or whatever she can find in her fridge.
They typically top this with cornichons (gherkins), pickled onions, and capers.
Sides include salads and bread. The traditional drinks include white wine, whiskey, and hot black or herbal tea.
Raclette at Home
Fortunately, the Raclette formula of ingredients, tools, and special equipment is becoming easier to locate in the United States. Many retailers now carry the cheese and Raclette grills.
Here’s what you’ll need to serve your own Raclette meal at home.
Perfect for Entertaining
A raclette night is a lovely way to gather a group of people for special occasions, the holiday season, or anytime for a fun party.
Remember you can use your grill to share a romantic meal too.
Raclette Party Ideas
Christmas or Christmas Eve
New Year’s Eve
Your guests will love your raclette parties and have the best time!
Best Raclette Grill
Raclette grills are available on Amazon.com and from large department stores such as Macy’s. Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel carry them too.
They are affordable and range between $50-200.
The Swissmar brand gets a high rating. All things considered, I love mine! I chose this manufacturer as it was a traditional Swiss brand. It is effortless to use and easy to clean. It heats up quickly!
Unfortunately, after shopping, I discovered that the only grills available for sale in the US tend to be a smaller size. So, unless I have multiple food stations and other food options at a gathering, I would only use the grill dinner party for up to 6 people.
Here are a few great grill choices to consider.
Swissmar Raclette Grill
This tabletop grill has a reversible cast aluminum nonstick grill/crêpe plate. It includes eight heat-resistant spatulas and eight raclette dishes with nonstick coating with variable heat control.
Artestia Raclette Table Grill
This grill includes a full-size reversible cast aluminum grill plate (19″ X 9.5″), one full-size high-density granite grill stone (19″ X 9.5″), ten Raclette dish holders with heat-resistant handles, and ten spatulas.
Hamilton Beach Raclette Grill
Serves up to 8 people. This Raclette party grill includes an ample 200 square inches nonstick, dual-texture grill/griddle surface and eight heat-resistant warming trays for individual servings.
Though seasonally, you can find Raclette cheese in large grocery stores, at Aldi or Trader Joe’s. In addition, you will find sliced or cheese by the wheel on Amazon.
How much Raclette Cheese per Person?
Each person typically enjoys 3 to 5 ounces or servings of Raclette at a meal. A slice (trench) weighs in at about 1 ounce.
Below are some of the food items to consider. Choose your favorites, and don’t forget to raid your frig too!
Grocery List of Raclette Ingredients
Traditional raclette cheese
Potatoes (new potatoes, fingerling, or yukon gold, steamed med. size, skins on)
Meats (thick slices of bacon, beef, cold cuts, chicken breast, etc.)
Dried meat (thin slices of jambon or salami, etc.).
Vegetables (bell peppers and onions, etc.)
Raclette seasoning (affiliate links)
White wine (pinot gris, etc.)
Hot black or herbal tea
Enjoy this traditional Swiss meal with your friends or family soon!
A successful raclette party is easy as the dining experience does all the work for you.
Additionally it’s perfect for my cheese lovers from my home state of Wisconsin!
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