So what do French people do when it’s cold outside? When they want to gather some friends around for some food, when they go skiing or need some comfort food but don’t want to spend their time cooking? They have a Raclette Party of course! Oh oui, it’s so simple but so delicious at the same time.
Raclette is a traditional meal during which people eat melted Raclette cheese from Savoie or Switzerland poured over boiled potatoes, served with a green side salad and charcuterie (cured meat). You need a Raclette grill which is an electric grill with little pans on it that you use to grill a slice of cheese. The grill is placed in the middle of the table so people can melt their own cheese at their pace.
If you are based in Dublin, shops like Sheridans Cheesemongers or Fallon and Byrne sell Raclette cheese (around €19 a kilo). You should get around 200g of cheese for each guest and slice it.
Buy loads of different kind of meat: ham, Serrano ham, prosciutto, saucisson, salami, chorizo, Rosette… Put everything nicely on a platter. For an Irish version you can even cook bacon to serve with the cheese and spuds. Boil enough potatoes for everyone, make a nice dressing for your green salad and get some French cornichons (gherkins). People then help themselves to anything they want.
I had a Raclette Party in my house last Saturday and enjoyed this lovely feast with some French/Irish company. We had some Kir (creme de cassis and white wine) before the meal to feel like in France, then the smell of cheese started to invade the house as we melted the Raclette, I even threw some bacon and sausages on top of the grill to add an Irish twist to my Raclette.
Some good food and good company, et voila... That's the magic of a Raclette Party!