Les Deux Alpes and Our First Raclette Dinner

Friday, May 29, 2020


After Christmas, in the winter of 1985, we traveled to Les Deux Alpes with friends for a week of skiing.  We were living in Germany at the time so a drive to the Swiss Alps and on to the French resort, Les Deux Alpes, was a no-brainer. Skiing was still our passion.

Les Deux Alpes is the second oldest ski resort (behind Chamonix) with the largest skiable glacier in Europe.  This was a fabulous trip:   great skiing, good friends and wonderful food and wine.

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Les Deux Alpes is a purpose-built resort located between Venosc and Mont de Lans. This French ski resort has some of the highest skiing in the Alps. The lifts run to 3600m. (Photo by Wurzeller at the English Language Wikipedia)

But this post is not about France or skiing.  It’s all about the food!

This is where we first experienced a Raclette Dinner!!!

Raclette Dinner (Wikipedia photo by Klaus-Dieter Keller, Germany)
Raclette Dinner (Wikipedia photo by Klaus-Dieter Keller, Germany)

Raclette was originally a dish of boiled and pickled vegetables and bread.  It originated in the Swiss Alps hundreds of years ago (first noted in 1291) as a portable and easy dish for cowherds and farmers to enjoy, either for lunch or dinner, in the field over a fire.  Raclette, a rich semi-soft cow’s milk cheese known for its melt-ability, is a specialty of the Alpine region.

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Traditional raclette meal. (photo: Tompress.co.uk/a-1000350-real-raclette.aspx)

We totally enjoyed this meal.  So, you can imagine our great delight to discover how easy it is to produce a Raclette Dinner not only for two but for a crowd!  Modern ingenuity has created an electric Raclette Grill for tabletop use.  This handy-dandy machine makes it possible to feed a crowd with ease, laughter, and a great deal of camaraderie!!!  Or, on a busy weeknight, wind-down with a simple dinner for 2 while enjoying good conversation and wine.

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We picked up an electric Raclette Grill years ago. Today, they are sold almost everywhere, including Amazon.com!!!

When friends ordered a 13 lb. wheel of Raclette cheese and shared a hunk with us, we pulled out that raclette grill.  While enjoying the wonderful meal, we reminisced about the days of our youth and relived some of our early foreign travel experiences.  What a pleasant evening!!!

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Raclette Cheese was originally produced in Switzerland and France. Today it is popular world-wide. Even countries as diverse as Germany, Canada, Australia, Luxembourg, Finland, Austria and the United States produce this tasty and versatile cheese.

And, along with the fun of the meal, a new-to-us wine was researched, purchased, consumed, and enjoyed.  Switzerland is not known for its wine.  But that may be because they consume almost all the wine they produce!  Very little is exported.  Ah, but, Switzerland is known for the Chasselas grape.  The wine created from this grape (sometimes called Fendant) is full bodied, dry and fruity.

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The grape, Chasselas, was discovered in western Switzerland in the 16th century. Today, it also grows in New Zealand, Chile, Romania & Hungary as well as France, Germany & Portugal. Gentil Hugel is a blend with several other varieties from the region.

Here are more photos:

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The Raclette Dinner starts with the cheese and an assortment of sausages or meats.
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Baby potatoes are essential along with pickles and whatever vegetables you would like. I used an assortment of onions, tomato and green pepper. Some sliced black olives topped it all off.
While the meat grills above, the cheese melts in the coupelles below.
While the meat grills above, the cheese melts in the coupelles below.
Voila!  It all comes together.
Voila! It all comes together.
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We have also enjoyed a casual dinner at the kitchen counter where we used the raclette cheese over potatoes as a side dish to some left-over meatloaf. All accompanied with a tossed salad. Rather than pulling out the grill, I used the coupelles atop a warmer.
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Potatoes and mushrooms, drizzled with Raclette Cheese and topped with pickles and black olives. Meatloaf, of course, is just meatloaf. But when you add the raclette side….YUM!

If you, too, are spending more time in the kitchen these days then give Raclette a try.

It’s a fun meal!!!