Learn how to throw a Raclette Dinner party for the cheese lovers in your life! This traditional Swiss dish is perfect for special occasions!
In this post, you’ll learn how to throw an amazing Raclette Dinner Party with all the melted cheese your heart desires! You’ll learn how this dinner party idea is a wonderful way to mark any celebration, exactly what to serve, what special raclette grill you’ll need, and what wines to pair with your successful raclette party.
If you love cheese, and a communal experience, this post is for you! If you love hosting fun dinner parties for your friends and family, this post is for you!
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What is Raclette?
Traditionally, Raclette cheese is a semi-hard cheese that is similar to swiss cheese. It’s got a nutty, slightly sweet, but salty flavor. It’s aromatic, and the longer it’s aged the more pungent it gets.
A raclette machine is the heating element over a big wheel of cheese, then scraped off onto your plate with little cornichons or potatoes. Heavenly! You’ll see an open fire that they’ll bring over the cheese wheel, and it starts to bubble and melt and it’s just show-stopping!
First, a raclette meal is small pans that are used with a heating element to melt raclette cheese. It sits in the center of the table, and you can cook proteins and vegetables on top of the raclette grill!
Raclette is a popular way to celebrate Christmas eve, New Year’s Eve, or any night during the holiday season!
You can find raclette cheese in Trader Joe’s and it’s usually the pre-sliced version. What you see pictured! I also enjoy using another type of cheese. Any cow’s milk cheese or good melting cheese works well. Cheddar and gruyere work very well!
How to Throw a Raclette Dinner Party
You’ll need a raclette grill that has the grill top and little pans to melt the cheese. I love this one from Amazon, but here are some things to consider when you’re purchasing a tabletop grill.
You want to be mindful of what type of grill you want on top. A sturdy option is best. People are pushing and pressing over and over, so you want a grill that is heavy enough to stay put while people cook their food. Read the reviews and you’ll quickly learn if a grill pops off easily or not!
Another thing to consider is how many people you would want to have a raclette night with! You can of course take turns using the pans, but it is hard to manage everyone’s hands and elbows all together at the table. If you think you’ll want to try this with a crowd, consider getting a couple of electric table-top grills. ((I’m excited to use it for Korean BBQ sometime, too!))
You’ll place everything you need on the table — the table should look super full, with no room for anything! Ha!
Then, people add their ingredients to the top of the grill! They’ll grill their proteins and warm their veggies.
Meanwhile, the slices of cheese are melting underneath in little pans called “coupelle.” ((It means small bowl in french!))
Once the protein and veggies are ready you’ll add them to your small plate. Then, take the melted cheese frying pan, and pour it over your small plate.
You can top it with any accoutrements you like!
On top of the sliced cheese, ready for melting, you’ll need copious amounts of side items. These are the items you’ll pair with your cheese!
Chicken Breast – I like to pre-slice the chicken and marinate the thin slices in a light all-purpose seasoning blend.
Steak – who wouldn’t want some juicy steak with their unctuous cheese?! Instead of steak, I made little teeny tiny burgers! Which everyone loved!
Shrimp – fresh, raw shrimp is delicious!
Charcuterie or Cold Cuts – cured meats like prosciutto, capicola, salami, etc are wonderful!
While having protein is fun, a vegetarian raclette is super easy to do!
New Potatoes – pre-steam the potatoes so they’re ready for hot melted cheese when it’s ready!
Bell Peppers and Onion – Sliced some up and let people cook them on the grill top!
Broccoli, green beans, and brussels sprouts are also fun to have pre-steamed. People can warm them up on the grill.
I love serving apples and pears alongside the cheese as well. Nothing pairs better with a traditional raclette cheese than apples, in my opinion!
All these side dishes pair perfectly with the thick slices of cheese!
The other thing you cannot forget is crusty bread!
I also like a little bit of dijon mustard and sour cream on the side. I serve this on a platter with small dishes of fresh chives, cornichons, and other pickles, that people can help themselves to once their raclette recipe is finished.
Other Items to Serve
Green Salad is a nice thing when you’re having a hefty amount of cheese and potatoes! Just a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar to some romaine or arugula would be perfect!
A Butter Board is a fun way of displaying herby butter to go along with your bread. Do you need butter with all the cheese, proteins, and vegetables? No, but why not! We ended up using some of the herby butter to cook our chicken and other proteins in. It was delightful!
Wines that pair well are a pinot gris, a sauvignon blanc, or any crisp white wine. My favorite? a 2015 Chablis, chilled to a perfect 53 degrees!
While we’re on the wine topic… Choose a wine that is nice! One that you feel is a little special and maybe a bit pricier than you would usually spend. Hosting a Raclette Dinner party is all about celebrating! See it through by getting a *nice* bottle (or 4?) of wine!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you serve at a raclette dinner party?
You’ll serve little dishes filled with vegetables and fruit, plus proteins, bread, and lots and lots of cheese!
What do the French eat with raclette?
Potatoes! Charcuterie or cold cuts! And something acidic like cornichons.
Do you eat bread with raclette?
Yes! No raclette dinner is complete without bread and potatoes! They’re the main component after the cheese!
What kind of cheese is used for raclette?
Any good melting alpine cheese. So, raclette obviously! But, Gruyere, Appenzeller, or swiss cheese all work very well!
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