May 2005 Food for Thought:
The age-old tradition of making Raclette is reborn with new conveniences
for today's home chefs
The tradition of Raclette dates back to the end of the 19th century in Switzerland, when Swiss shepherds packed potatoes and cheese for sustenance and headed for their daily trek up the mountainside with their flocks. The ingredients in Raclette were easily transported and once at their desired location, the shepherds prepared the potatoes over an open fire while the cheese was warmed on a rock nearby. The word Raclette has its origins in the French verb, "racler," which means to scrape because the melted cheese was scraped onto the potatoes before serving. Traditional Raclette includes potatoes topped with melted cheese and served with cornichons or gherkins, often with a heavy dose of freshly ground pepper. In addition to the dish itself, the word Raclette describes the kind of cheese used in the dish.
Today's electric Raclette makers allow the dish to be prepared at tableside, with everyone participating in the cooking process. The meat is cooked on top of the appliance's grill plate, while the cheese is placed in individual serving dishes and warmed below.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Raclette:
Cuisinart's new Raclette (model no. CR-8) has an adjustable temperature probe that gives home chefs more control over the cooking process. The temperature probe can be adjusted to low temperatures for gently melting and browning the cheese or for higher temperatures when cooking meats like bacon and sausage.
The Cuisinart Raclette has a non-stick cast metal grill plate for food preparation, and is also reversible for use as a flat griddle to make crepes or other family favorites. Both the grill and griddle are stick-free for convenient food release and easy cleanup.
The Raclette has a brushed stainless steel base and handles. It is also embossed with the Cuisinart logo.
One of the most significant product benefits is the non-stick surface of the Raclette's eight steel dishes, which makes it much easier for consumers to remove the melted cheese. In addition, the dishes have heat-resistant handles and metal holders. The Cuisinart Raclette also comes with eight heat-resistant spatulas.
Just the Facts:
Suggested Retail Price: $150
Warranty: Limited three-year
Cuisinart, universally known for introducing the food processor in America, is a leader in culinary appliances, professional quality cookware, and kitchen accessories. The company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, manufactures a full range of products under the tagline, "Savor the Good Life®." These products include cookware, countertop cooking appliances, cutlery, hand blenders, hand mixers, coffeemakers, toasters and toaster ovens, as well as food processors, electric teakettles and scales. Cuisinart's website is www.cuisinart.com.