An Ode to Raclette
I work in the best location ever — but it’s also the worst location ever. Because I’m less than 2 minutes away from Borough Market. Which, if you’re into food in any small way, is just about the mecca of foodie markets in all of London. Luckily for me the market is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday … so there are still 3 days a week when I don’t totally empty my wallet over lunch hour.
Today I walked over to Borough Market with the intention of getting a prawn wrap. But instead I wandered a bit farther, and I found the raclette guy. I’ve seen him there on weekends, but never on a Thursday before. And he had the most amazing cheese. Seriously. If you love fondue, you’ll LOVE raclette.
The Raclette cheese can be found in parts of Switzerland, France, and the bits of Belgium called Wallonia. It comes in a really big round wheel, and is a delightful pale yellow color. This all sounds pretty typical, doesn’t it? But the best bit is the toasting. Unlike fondue, which is cheese heated in a container until it’s gooey and runny — and then you dip stuff in it, the Raclette cheese is cut in half. Then each half is mounted in a bracket, and heated with what I can only describe as a blow-torch-on-low. Then, once the top layer of the cheese is nice and melty, you scrape it off onto your plate. The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape”. Traditionally it is served with small potatoes , gherkins, pickled onions, dried meat (like prosciutto), peppers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, and dusted with paprika and black pepper.
Today however, I had it scraped onto a sandwich. The pickles and onions were already there, and the cheese acted like the perfect glue. Then the whole thing was pressed in a panini press, and then consumed in a fromaged frenzy.