The world's most famous melting cheese, Raclette is made in the Savoie region of the Alps. It is made of raw cow's milk and matured for at least 5 month in respect of the French cheese tradition. It is during this long ripening period that the flavor and excellent melting qualities develop. Raclette has a semi-soft interior dotted with small holes and a rosy inedible rind. Melted, it tastes creamy and fruity. It is most famously used to make a dish, which also goes by the name "raclette", or served with boiled potatoes, pickles, and cured meats. The accent in Raclette dining is always on sociable eating and drinking. Raclette de Savoie, from the Savoie region has won the gold medal at the Concours general in 2006, in Paris.
Raclette's brushed rind ranges from salmon to golden yellow color with a thin white covering. The paste is firm and supple, ranging from ivory to a seductive light yellow color. Its paste is slightly hard but melts beautifully, with a light smell of mold. Once warm it tastes creamy, full, with a milky flavor. Eaten as a table cheese, Raclette has a smooth, creamy taste that is neither too salty nor sharp. Traditionally, it is accompanied by small firm potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions, dried, cured meats, peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, pears, and dusted with paprika and fresh-ground black pepper. Now days the modern raclette grills provides endless variations. It is also used in the traditional fondue de Savoie. It is during the long ripening period that the flavor and excellent melting qualities develop. The cheese is made in the form of a wheel, weighing about 15 pounds. Serve with Cotes du Rhone, or Beaujolais, or Sancerre or Muscadet for the whites.
Its name comes from the French word "racler" which means to scrape, and describes the way the cheese is traditionally prepared and eaten: the cheese is melted in front of a fire/raclette grill and the melted part cheese is scraped off ("raclé") on to boiled potatoes. Raclette dates back to Roman times when it was used as a form of money exchanged for other essential goods. Local farmers have passed the methods of production down through the generations. It is also mentioned in medieval writings as a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in the Alps. Traditionally, the cow herders used to take the cheese with them when they were moving the herds to or from the pastures. In the evenings they would place the cheese next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it on top of some bread.