The Art of Raclette

French winter foods racletteIt’s no secret, I love the creative energy in fall and winter when everything around slows and I can hunker down into projects. I’ve been excited about spending more time in the kitchen again since my parents visited. Food has always had an important role in my life in France but having two kids certainly slowed me down for a while and I’m just getting back into a good rhythm again and just in time for winter foods, some of my favourites!

Potatoes, cheese, charcuterie and even the slow-cooked family meals just get me so excited and yet they don’t all have to be laboursome, some are simple, easy and delicious and one of them, which you’ll have to try if you haven’t yet, is raclette! 

This meal is dead simple and it reminds me of my first time on winter holidays to the alps. The club we’d booked in with had several machines you could reserve and if you wanted you could also put in an order with a local traiteur (caterer) to have all the foods delivered to your door before dinner so you could come home from a day of skiing and just sit down for dinner without having to stop at the shops.

But if you’re at home, it’s really no big effort. Boil up some potatoes, pull out the pickles, your favourite charcuterie (saucisson, cured hams, whatever you like), and raclette cheese which you can find in local cheese shops or any french grocery store and you have yourself a meal. Of course, you can always get creative and put an oozy spin on other cheeses as I did with this truffle stuffed deliciousness. I think I was feeling inspired by our most recent visit to Noyers-sur-Serein for the truffle festival at the end of October while we were vacationing in Burgundy.

The cheese, which is often precut to size goes into the little pans and under the heat a few moments just enough to melt, not enough to burn and you pour it over your hot potatoes. This is pure food deliciousness. Then it’s just a matter of picking your wine! In this case, I already had a red wine open from biodynamic producer La Grange Tiphaine from the Loire valley, it worked really well with the truffle cheese but generally speaking whites are going to be easier to pair with cheese. Choose something with good acidity to cut through the fat of the cheeses and often times wines grown in cooler climates tend to have higher acidity levels. Would love to hear what you’d pair with your molten cheese!

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