Cheesemonger’s Report: A Swiss-Style Raclette Made Just One State Away

Righteous local raclette, for $24 a pound.

The newest cheese on the counter at Lucy’s Whey in Chelsea Market is the Reading Raclette, it’s a raw cow’s milk cheese from Spring Brook Farm.  A few weeks ago we had the cheesemakers here, they met customers, talked about cheesemaking and gave samples of both their cheeses: The Alpine-style Tarentaise and their newest, Reading Raclette.

Traditionally, Raclette is made in both Switzerland and France, so are very, very excited to have an American version from the Green Mountain State, Vermont.

Spring Brook Farm won 2nd place at the American Cheese Society Awards in 2010 for Tarentaise, so we’ve been looking forward to trying this new cheese for quite some time. Their high quality cheese comes from high quality milk. At Spring Brook Farm the milk comes from a herd of 40 Jersey cows. With the cows and the cheese production at the same location, the cheesemaker and herdsperson work closely together to produce truly unique, distinctive, farmstead cheeses.

Reading Raclette is mild, semi-soft cheese that has flavors of sweet milk, with a sour, tart rind.  It’s delicious on its own, perfect for snacking, but really, it’s true calling is to be melted over potatoes and served with ham, pickles, and a little side of whole grain mustard. We’ve put it on a sandwich with the Spicy Brown Ale mustard from My Friend’s Mustard in Brooklyn, and it’s a heavenly match!

Raclette gets its name from the French word racleur which means “to scrape,” although it originates from the southern part of Switzerland.  The first people to discover the deliciousness of this cheese in melty form were the cow herders. High up in the Alps, the herdsman would take some Raclette and warm it by the fire turning soft and gooey. Then they would scrape the cheese on to potatoes, pickles, or charcuterie, the perfect dinner!!

Since not all of us are so lucky to visit France or Switzerland, we can read about the traditions of Raclette (here is a great blog post from David Lebovitz), and swing by our Lucy’s Whey stand in Chelsea Market to pick up a wedge of Spring Brook Farm’s Reading Raclette! For more photos from Lucy and my visit last February, visit the Lucy’s Whey blog right here.

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Amy Thompson is the cheesemonger for Lucy's Whey in Chelsea Market.