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On our last trip to Paris ( In February ),  two of my Parisian friends ( they did not know each other ) hosted a ‘Raclette’ dinner for Larry and me.

They asked in advance if I liked ‘Raclette’ and I had to admit, I didn’t know what they meant.  I knew that Raclette was a type of cheese, but a ‘Dinner’ of Raclette was a bit confusing.  They explained it was bit like a fondue but not exactly.

Anyway, our friend Simon did this dinner in our honor ( I just love Simon and Julie ) and invited 12 of his closest friends.  ( Simon has a lot of friends! )

Simon, Larry and Jeff

We arrived to the usual melee of adults and children to Simons’ great apartment in the 16th.  (Simon is our Antique Dealer friend whose wife and family come from a long line of respected Antique Dealers)  I love Simon’s taste as he knows exactly how to effortlessly mix Antiques, vintage and modern with no design training at all.

Just before the Platter's arrived

While everybody chatted and sipped on Champagne the dinner was being set.

Julie (Simon’s wife….well actually they aren’t officially married although they have two children) was busy setting the table with this funny looking cooking device that looked like an oversized round grill. The only difference being this grill had two levels, and in the middle were tiny handles of small frying pans sticking out the entire circumference.

Attentive Larry listening to Raclette instructions.

All of a sudden Simon announced ‘Dinner est pret’ and everyone took their places.  I was seated next to Karin…a woman I had met several times but never had an opportunity to chat with at any length.  She always fascinated me being tall, pretty and mysterious. (Many French woman love to portray an air of mystery without being pretentious or rude)

Laetitia, Karin, and Julie

Then a platter of sliced ‘Raclette Cheese’ appeared with a platter of sliced prosciutto, hams, and a variety of vegetables and bread.  Sorry I forgot the main ingredient ‘boiled fingerling potatoes’   That’s when all the fun started.  People helping themselves to cheese, placing it in the small pans, and then inserting them in the machine in order to melt the cheese until it bubbled.  Some people put things into the cheese, like bread or potatoes, but the idea is and was to melt the cheese then pour it over things on your plate.  The top ‘griddle’ of the Raclette machine is used for browning.  So for example, if you’d like your potatoes slightly browned, then you’d place them on top of the Raclette cooker.  The result was a delicious dinner full of relaxed fun and socializing. ( I have subsequently had a Raclette dinner I prepared in Vancouver and it went over with great success )

If you’d like to prepare your own Raclette Dinner hunt around for a Raclette cooker.  They are available in Canada, and in Vancouver.  Benton Brothers up in Kerrisdale sell both Raclette and the Machine.

For information on how to prepare a Raclette Dinner see click on the link provided.

Happy ‘Raclette’

Mark LaFleur