How to Throw a Raclette Dinner Party

raclette party food on a table

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A raclette dinner party is a twist on fondue that can be a crowd-pleaser for birthdays, holidays, showers, and many other special occasions. Raclette is a type of cheese from Switzerland that is prepared with vegetables on a special grill. The grill heats multiple small pans in which guests melt the raclette with vegetables and other toppings of their choice. All the host needs to do is supply the equipment and prepped cheese and toppings.

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A Traditional Raclette

These are some of the ingredients that can go into an authentic Swiss raclette recipe.

Main Ingredients

  • Raclette cheese
  • Boiled, unpeeled new potatoes

Additional Trimming Options

  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Gherkins
  • Silverskin onions
  • Mixed pickles
  • Cured meats
  • Freshly milled pepper
  • Paprika

Preparing and Serving Raclette

Set out freshly sliced vegetables on a serving platter, along with bowls of any other trimmings, a pepper mill, and paprika if you wish. Line a serving basket or bowl with a napkin, and wrap the cooked potatoes in it to keep them warm.

Cut the raclette cheese into pan-sized slices, and set them out on another serving dish. For cheese options, consider Emmentaler, Gruyère, or Comté. It's definitely alright to use just one or try out different combinations.

When guests arrive, invite them to experiment with cheese and veggie pairings. Melt the cheese on the grill, and add it, along with any other desired toppings, to a serving of boiled potatoes. The toppings also can be grilled if you wish.

If you're not comfortable leaving the grill unattended, it's common to hire or assign a grill master to make sure the cooking goes smoothly. Remember, things can get a bit messy when melted cheese is involved.

Drinks With Raclette

A dry white Swiss wine or rosé typically goes best with raclette, though a cool light beer can pair well, too. Dry white wine is ideal because the acid keeps the cheese tasting smooth. So for your party, consider offering guests a dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Some people also recommend tea at a raclette party because it helps to stimulate digestion. So either start or cap the gathering with a ginger tea, which is known for its digestive properties.

More Raclette Party Tips

Here are a few other factors to consider to ensure your raclette party is a success.

  • Do not completely cut off the rind of the cheese. You'll get a crisp, flavorful crust if you just scrape away some of it.
  • When melting the raclette, make sure you don't overcook it. Otherwise, the albumin gets grainy, and the fat separates.
  • If any cheese is left over, cover it in cling wrap. It will keep for about eight days.
  • Raclette can be prepared with any variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, condiments, liqueurs, and spices. Don't be afraid to break tradition and try something new.
  • If you prefer, you can serve a crusty bread or baguette with the raclette.
  • To round out your meal, serve a seasonal salad as a starter and finish off with a fruit sorbet, fresh fruit, or a fruit salad for dessert.