Raclette with friends

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Raclette cheese being scraped onto a plate.These days, I find, food and friends go together like nightclubs and hangovers may have done way back when we were twenty somethings; hunting for soulmates and good times, with scant thought about what we were doing to our bodies. Yet with food, the pleasure derived does not guarantee a mind-numbing headache, panda eyes or dryness like the Kalahari the morning after. The pleasure of food is immeasurable and for me, a meal of memories is a bottomless cup.

In my 30s food has become a panacea (well, almost) and that seemed to be on my mind down in Borough market last weekend in the easy company of two Saffas (South Africans) and a Zimbo (Zimbabwean). No doubt, this market is a foodie heaven, and I love it, but I feel that with notoriety comes a slightly bloated sense of self that fame brings. But it’s not really the market’s fault. The faint sheen of celebrity seems to have created a hub of gastro wannabes, pseudo foodies, genuine foodophiles, culinary vultures and voyeurs of all things edible. But the energy is addictive and the delights hard to resist.

Raclette cheese being scraped onto a plate.After fighting the crush and tasting as many tiny morsels of cheese as we could, we gravitated towards a crowning glory of the dairy world – the much sighed about foodstand serving sumptuous Raclette. Without exaggeration, I heard more than one person say: “Let’s find the raclette.” or “Have you tried the raclette?”

Raclette is a dish that originated in Switzerland and involves a semi firm salted cheese made from cow’s milk. It has its origins in the Swiss canton of Valais but is now also produced in parts of France. The term raclette is derived from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape”. The raclette round is heated and the melted cheese is gradually scraped onto a plate. It is often served with baby potatoes, salted meats, gherkins or pickled onions.

RacletteThis version involved scrapping glorious soft cheese, melted beneath purpose-built gas-powered grills, over griddled new potatoes, served with cornichons. It’s a rustic fare, and like most things as simple, it was both delicious and comforting. Sitting in the neighbouring churchyard, we devoured our meals, Clayton telling a story about photographing a police incident involving a naked lunatic, Joanne filling us in on her recent trek in the Bhutan and me becoming reacquinted with Brigid after not seeing her for years, despite us both living in London all this time!

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About foodnobody

Food nobody (n.) An entirely unknown foodie. A person who is passionate about the culinary arts but doesn't have a book published, does not have a celebrity chef as a friend, aunt, cousin, dad, has never appeared in a food TV show, does not own a deli/restaurant/cafe, and has never been interviewed in a food-related capacity - ever.

10 responses »

  1. Can there actually be a better place to catch up with friends than Borough Market? My friend Catherine and I have known each other since we were 6 years old. Despite both living in London for a number of years, I saw her once in 2000 and then not again until last year, by which time she had moved to Brighton and had another baby… And where did we meet up? Borough Market, of course! It is true what you say though – the market’s fame now attracts every tourist with a digital SLR and they can be pretty annoying when you just want to get some shoppign done! But I was struck on Saturday by the incredible privilege of having a single destination where you can pick up half a kilo of foie gras, fresh asparagus, some venison goulash, ostrich wors, Belgian beer and a side of cured lime and chilli salmon. This is why I live here 🙂

  2. As the fellow raclette taster I have to say it is the perfect market meal to share with old friends. The fact that there was some sunshine also helped of course!

  3. What a fabulous idea – raclet at borough market ahhh what a genius thing to suggest for an afternoon 😉

    The website looks luvvvely love!

  4. The raclette sounds divine! My greatest regret is that in the two years I lived in London I did not know that the Borough Market existed.

    Now that I am in Dublin I seem to read about this market every other day and am now dead curious to see it for myself.

  5. You can never go wrong with salted meat, cheese and potatoes. Well, perhaps in a lifetime one can go very very wrong – but only if you believe its important to prevent heart attacks. The first time I ate raclette was in paris, and perhaps it was just for tourists, but I didn’t care. Any food I can play with before I eat makes me pretty happy.

    Cheers,
    B
    handtomouthkitchen.wordpress.com

  6. I’d like to thank you for enlightening me about raclette—it’s one of my favorite cheeses, but I had no idea it had lent its name to so enticing a dish!

    Sharing food with friends is one of the best parts of growing up.

  7. Huge raclette fan here too. Have you tried Tartiflette – similar in a way and from the Haute Savoire in France – potato and bacon and the same kinds of delicious melting cheese.

  8. Mmm, the raclette is great. The grilled cheese sandwiches are great. Recently I tried the fresh grilled scallops and they were (you guessed it…!) great!

    I particularly like it when they get the mulled cider / wine stalls out. Beware of getting tipsy and spending all your money on weird and wonderful things!

  9. Hi Foodnobody

    Great article / site – have to agree – raclette is an excellent dish and borough market is a great place to try it.

    Tried it first in Verbier, Switzerland where you could try to beat the restaurant record set for the number of servings of cheese portions brought to your table by a waiter – one more every time your plate emptied until you either stopped him or keeled over!!

    Friends gave me an electric raclette grill for xmas a couple of years ago and we now have it fairly regularly in the winter – easy to get the cheese, whether whole or sections (or in slices). This 8 person grill goes with us when we go skiing and is a bit different to the traditional fondue.

    Now fellow raclette fans – I am currently looking for a gas fired raclette grill – if anyone out there knows where I can get my hands on one please send me the details!! I have had a good look in the web.

    A mug of Monmouth filter coffee in Borough Market is a great start to the morning too.

    Keep the site up
    A

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