Raclette? You Bet!
My gift of the day was first introduced to me by my parents a few months ago. My parents like to be super secretive when it comes to what they feed my sister and I (and our boyfriends), such as this past weekend when they served up surprise drinks called ‘Cherry Bombs’ which they recently sampled in Minneapolis (red bull and cherry schnapps for the record, they are ah-mazing).
Back in the winter-y months, they introduced us to another surprise find: raclette (rah-klet). Although a longstanding tradition in some European cultures, many small kitchen appliance companies are rolling out their own versions for North American home use.
What is raclette you ask? Essentially it involves throwing some goodies into a tray (google ‘raclette ingredients’ for ideas) from potatoes and prosciutto to pickles and pineapple, and topping it off with a piece of paper-thin raclette cheese. You then put your little tray into the raclette and it slow-roasts (and melts) your dish. Meanwhile you can also serve up a variety of goodies on the griddle on top of the actual raclette heater – my parents dished up some shrimp skewers – or you can use the griddle to fry up some veggies or other food to go into your other raclette creations.
The beauty of having a raclette dinner party is that it’s not a wham bam thank you ma’am affair. The whole melty process takes awhile, so it’s a perfect social event to stretch out a late summer evening or fill a cool winter night.
If you’re younger, let me tell you now, your parents and / or in-laws will LOVE this thing. Given that empty nesters tend to have a lot more time to fill with socializing, they will eat this thing up as a super simple alternative to the endless dishes and work that goes into trying to impress their dinner party guests. Do the math: you’re having your guests craft their own meals, the food always turns out great, and clean-up is pretty damn simple.
If you’re older and shopping for a gift for say, that niece or nephew getting married this summer, they’ll also love this as a surprising alternative to their registry. Personally, I’m a fan of combining things on the registry with a related gift off the registry. The same goes for gift-giving in general. Whether the person you’re buying the raclette for knows what it is or not, why not top up the gift with a gift card to a grocery store or food boutique – i.e. a place that sells raclette cheese and the assortment of fancy meats and fixings you’ll want to go with it. Bon appétit!
I did some scoping around the internet for raclettes by the way – Sears has a Hamilton Beach one for $80 (which I think my parents own), Canadian Tire has a funky round T-Fal one for $90, and KitchenNiche.ca has a variety of high-end varieties ranging from about $110 to $150, plus a raclette cookbook!