Raclette 101

Our Ultimate Guide to Throwing the Best Raclette Party

Hosting a party for family or friends is a good way to try recipes, new ideas, and new styles of cooking. Raclette is just that, one of the most popular ways to entertain is to make the experience of cooking interactive. When you have a gathering, some have challenges with not enough space on the dinning table for all guests to do a formal sit down dinner, therefore buffet style gives a comfortable and casual choice to seat all your guests. Having a Raclette is like the ultimate buffet style hosting, and it gets your guests engaged with the act of cooking, which means less work for you! After trying it a few times you'll see why a Raclette party is fun and easy to set up.

What is nice about this style of interactive cooking is you do not have to worry about every detail of preparing a meal ahead of time, long as you take the time in gathering the right supplies and having a great raclette grill your party will be a blast. It is one of the easiest dinner parties which you can hold at your house.

If you're browsing for a dinner party idea that's as simple as fondue, but different, try hosting a Raclette party. There is just so many combinations of foods that work with raclette, we recently made a walkthrough video simple raclette recipe that we do quite often:

Ok, so what is Raclette?

Raclette really is a type of cheese from Switzerland that is traditionally prepared with potatoes on a raclette grill. The grill heats numerous small pans wherein each guest melts the raclette cheese with choice of selected toppings. On television these grills are getting rave reviews over the last few months and in specialty magazines. Raclettes similar in a way to the Swiss classic, fondue, which comes from the French verb fondre, meaning for melt. I like to think raclette is the more sophisticated fondue party.

The word Raclette came from the French word Racler meaning “to scrape.” The meaning is quite similar to the English translation which is why the entire party is dependent on it.

The typical dinner for raclette party is sliced boiled potatoes, bread, and cheese. These three are the basic ones along with the veggies of your choice. Along with that, you can also add the cold cut meats to add up the taste. You do not have to hide in the kitchen and cook all the time when you have a party at home instead, socialize and everyone gets the chance to cook their meals by themselves. 

Rules for Raclette Party 

There are no rules for the raclette party or any perfect meal which you can expect. Everything is a combination of your choice through the ingredients which are available. Everyone has a chance to cook from the ingredients which they want to eat so in this way; the food does not get wasted. You choose the quantity as well and eat it all with your will.

There are a lot of raclette recipes such as skewered recipes, nachos recipes, seafood recipes and many more. It is always a good option to keep the recipes simple when you are trying for the raclette party for the first time, think one protein (bacon), one carb (potatoes), a couple veggies (onions, chives), and of course the cheese. Keep it Simple!

While you are gathering the ingredients, it is necessary that you have assortments of vegetables included in the ingredients. Even if someone is not fond of meat items, they will prefer to have vegetables instead. You can keep both vegetables and protein as the ingredient item which can be a great treat as a combination for some. Keep the aim simple of offering a simple and balanced meal with some courses.

The main aspect of throwing the raclette party is serving cheese as the main course. It is all in one cheese such as Swiss, gruyere and mozzarella wrap in one packet. The texture is creamy and thick which you can keep on any dish, and it will turn out to be amazing for you. You can also bring in separate cheese such as feta, cheddar, blue, gruyere, and others to add up to the variety. 

You do not stop or limit yourself with raclette party because it is all about the ingredients. You do not have to spend hours cooking big dishes for the guests, yet they are there to serve themselves. 

What if you can't find raclette cheese?

There can be times when you will not find raclette cheese in the market. You may be looking for it everywhere, but it will not be available. Well, in that case, you can use the substitution at your dinner party. With the fact that raclette cheese may be expensive also, you should include other cheese on the ingredient table as well. When the guest is coming to the raclette party, there needs to be raclette cheese in there, but if you are not able to find it, then you do not have a choice but rather find the similar one.

Prefer to prepare ahead of time and find the raclette cheese whether it is in large or small quantity. With that, you can add Swiss cheese to the party and other similar cheese as well. 

The most similar cheese to raclette is gruyere. The cheese is semi-hard, and it also melts well. It has the same texture with the taste of nutty flavor when it melts.

Another cheese is Emmentaler which is one type of Swiss cheese. It is also similar to the raclette cheese by the hardness, but it takes some time to melt. You have to wait little so that it can melt properly and be cheesy for you to eat. This cheese one of the popular choices for the fondue, however, it can be a great substitution for raclette.

Another great option is Comte cheese. If you do not want to head for the Swiss cheese variety, then this is one option you can opt out. It is softer in texture, and most of the French cheese has variations of it. It melts easily and quickly with giving a butter-like a flavor which is smooth and consistent. 

Appenzeller is another variety of Swiss cheese which you would want to try as a substitute to raclette cheese. However, even if you have raclette cheese, you can still add this cheese to the ingredients list as it is a bit spicy. It helps you in adding flavor to the party and the plate. There are some of the types of this cheese which are tangy, so you need to check over the label. Wash the rind over the cheese and then serve it so that the tanginess gets off of it. 

Things you need for a Raclette Party 

For a traditional raclette party, here are some of the things which you may need to find to enjoy the dinner.

Quick Raclette Prep Checklist

  • Raclette Grill 
  • Raclette Cheese
  • Boiled Potatoes 
  • Mixed Vegetables 
  • Cornichons
  • Meats
  • Bread
  • Raclette Pans & Scrapers

Raclette Grill
You can find a raclette grill online easily. The most common ones are eight serving grills, however, if you want, then there are ten grills one available as well. There are little pans inside the grill which cooks the cheese along with scrapers/spatulas to push out the cheese from the pan.

Raclette Cheese
This is a must-have item during the raclette party. So you have to find a good melting cheese from the grocery store. Make sure to get this in abundance so that you do not run out of it.

Boiled Potatoes
It depends upon you if you wish to leave the potatoes skin on or take it off. If the potatoes are small in size, then prefer to keep three per person, and if it is big, then the count should be two per person serving.

Mixed Vegetables
You can have mushrooms, cauliflower, courgettes, tomatoes and any other vegetables which you want to add. Make sure to keep a variety of these as people prefer to have these side by the cheese.

Cornichons are French pickles which many people love to add to a raclette party. They are fresh and adds up a variety to the ingredients in the party. It also adds up to the color on the table where you have all the ingredients placed.

You can get a variety of meats from the market so that if anyone is up for protein, then they can cook it. Common ones include steal tips, chicken, lamb - you'll want to use things that cook fast, nothing too thick. Most stores sell steak tips or fajita cuts which work very well.

Sliced Fruits
You can keep the optional fruits such as apples, pears, grapes and more which are compatible with the raclette cheese.

Make sure to have bread on the table along with all these items. There is no question on not having bread as people love to have it with such meals. Personally we recommend a cuban or french bread, sliced and toasted in the oven beforehand.

Popular Recipes for Raclette Party 

Here are some of the courses for the Raclette party

Melted brie with apples and almonds toasted with cherry jam on a baguette. The combination is amazing, and it works great as an appetizer. You will love the flavor of cherry jam which is sour and sweet at the same time.

Main Course
There are many options for main courses such as you can get the sirloins sliced, add asparagus, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini. Mix and match anything you like to add or remove here. Add the melted cheese of your choice on top and enjoy the drill of the grill.

If you want to add more greens to it, you can do it later on as well such as leafy greens. 

You can get the sliced cake and strawberries on top. Along with testing some marshmallows on the grill and pour it on the cake. Melt the chocolate over the burner and drizzle it on top of the strawberries. Enjoy the amazing dessert which you would crave next time.

Raclette party is something worth trying once so that you can feel how easy and convenient it is for the host to deal with the food. It is a great idea and super easy because you have to provide the ingredients and everyone does the cooking by themselves. Gather with the family to enjoy the amazing raclette party at your place to build memories. 

Arrangements for Raclette Party

Make sure to teach your guests about the little pans and how to operate the grill when they arrive. You have to be the instructor first and then enjoy the party. As some of the people may be new to it so be patient with them and teach them how to do it.

The little pans where the cheese melts are known as couples so educate them right so it can enhance their knowledge. There is little spatula which they can use to pull out the ingredients out of the pan into the plate for their servings. If you want then wait for all the guests to arrive and then you can give them a demo first. 

Raclette party is a communal way of serving and eating dinner. It is when the food is common, and everyone has their own space on one grill to cook with the ingredients they like to combine into the little pans. 

When you talk about the seating arrangements for the raclette party, it is something which needs proper planning. Most of the parties have the couples facing on two sides so that guests have the chance to manage their space easily. The grill is accessible to their table in most of the situations, but sometimes it can be far as well. Prefer to keep the seating arrangements in an etiquette manner so that no one is frustrated out of it.

It is your raclette party so make sure that you enjoy and eat as much as you want the guests to eat. Make the raclette grill accessible for the guest from all sides so that no one is covering the pan space of another. If you need to buy more than one grills, then prefer to do it according to the number of guests you invite at one time.

Get the grill which is adjustable and which swivels so that you can turn it any way you wish. There is control over the grill, and people cooperate knowing their turn will be coming when the grill moves to their side. 

Enjoy Racletting!

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