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I bought some cheese labeled "French raclette" that's quite soft even when refrigerated. (In the store it seemed almost gooey, losing it shape, and in my home fridge it's still soft but a bit springy - maybe like a very very soft havarti, maybe way on the soft side of semi-soft.) It seems like you'd just make a giant mess by melting it, and it looks impossible to slice cleanly, so it seems like it'd be impossible to use as raclette cheese in typical ways (slicing and melting over things, or melting a layer and scraping).

Is this cheese really intended to be used as raclette cheese, or is the label a misnomer, or is there perhaps something besides melting meant by raclette here?

(In case it's relevant, I have the tabletop variety of raclette grill, where you put the cheese, or things with cheese on top in trays underneath, not the original kind where you melt half a wheel of cheese and scrape it.)

  • @Jefromi, sorry I definitely misunderstood the original version of the question (Deleting my other comments now). Now I've read the edits I don't really know what to say. I would hazard at maybe it's intended to be used as though you had warmed it the 'traditional' way, where really they expect you to warm it in a pot, in true 21st century laziness. Maybe for dipping vegetables into like a fondue. – Doug Dec 17 '14 at 0:10
  • @Doug Well, you'd definitely have to heat it to really dip like fondue, but yes, that's one of the things I thought of (along with just scraping a bit onto things in a tray and melting), but I was hoping to hear from someone with more direct knowledge than me! (And no worries, I definitely don't want to post a question that even unintentionally invites recipes.) – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 0:12
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I don't know whether it's meant to be melted but it's not how raclette cheese in France or Switzerland is usually like. Livradois is not a region I would spontaneously associate with raclette either. Having grown up in the Alps, I would personally consider raw milk raclette cheese from Savoie or Valais as the most authentic and those cheeses definitely hold their shape, even at room temperature.

That said, raclette is not a protected name in either Switzerland or France so it's produced all over the place and it's increasingly common to find flavored variants (with black pepper, mustard seeds, etc.) I also know people who like to melt blue cheese or reblochon (a soft cheese from the Savoie area) under a table-top raclette grill so why not some other soft cheese?

Finally, note that what passes as the ‘traditional’ way to prepare raclette is neither a table-top grill nor melting the cheese in a pot and dipping bread in it, fondue-like, but actually exposing the whole piece of cheese to some heat source and scrapping the melted bits as you go, as shown on the Wikipedia article on the dish.

  • I know that's the original traditional raclette, but at the same time, the tabletop grill version is pretty common, especially in Quebec where I picked this up from. – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 6:09
  • @Cascabel In France too, I just added that for completeness! – Relaxed Dec 17 '14 at 10:32
  • Thanks! I think the point that nowadays at least some people put pretty much whatever they feel like under the grill is the best answer here - maybe the cheese I found is a bit softer than traditional ones but it's not really unreasonable to make a cheese like that and say it's for raclette given that the tabletop grills are common now. – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 17:10
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Turns out it's not mislabeled: it's actually "spécial raclette livradoux". Embarrassingly enough, I just noticed that there's a fragment of the whole-wheel label wrapped up with it, with a "vradoi" that let me find it, and it's consistent with this picture:

raclette livradoux

Different pages describe it as semi-soft or semi-firm, which still seems a bit of an exaggeration to me. It's possible to make irregular slices, but definitely nothing super-clean, and I'm afraid if you tried to melt a layer you'd melt a lot more than that. But cutting off a hunk/slice and melting in the tray does work just fine despite my initial impressions; while it's pretty soft before heating, it doesn't melt that much more liquid than a firmer cheese. And the flavor is definitely similar to other raclette cheeses I've had!

So it seems quite plausible that it's intended for this version of raclette, but not the older traditional version. (Of course, I was wrong about "completely impossible to slice" so I could be wrong about that as well.)

  • The label says “spécial raclette”, which suggest it is not “raclette” at all. – Relaxed Dec 17 '14 at 3:49
  • @Relaxed Huh, my resident French Canadian thinks it sounds like they're saying they made a special batch of raclette cheese, along the lines of "a Christmas special". – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 6:12
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I think it is mislabeled, at least as far as making raclette "the usual way" is concerned. I feel sure it could still be used as such, maybe spoon it into the tray and heat it up very quickly. Though probably much more difficult to get a nice "gratin" unless you can turn the heat up really high, or perhaps use an oven instead, on broil.

What you got sounds more like the kind of soft cheese you would put on a cracker or piece of baguette bread or some such. Odd labeling, if you ask me.

I looked up a few videos (in French, native language) and they all use a more firm cheese, so it sounds like it's just mis-marketing to me to label that cheese "raclette cheese".

It appears that most often the cheese is heated separately from the rest, and then topped on deli and potatoes (and other desired things) rather than being heated with the things. See this video, in French but images are obvious enough.

  • 1
    Sorry, yeah, I did know it's traditionally heated by itself. I just do things like melting it on top of potatoes instead of scraping because I'd rather have hot cheese on hot potatoes anyway! I'm certainly planning on trying it like you mention even if it's not actually meant for that. – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 1:58
  • Ostensibly, I think the assumption with raclette is that your potatoes are already hot ;-) – Phrancis Dec 17 '14 at 2:00
  • But they cool off at the table! (Fair enough, though.) – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 2:01
  • @Cascabel You can put the whole pot with the potatoes in it (and possibly a bit of water to prevent burning) on top of the grill under which you heat the cheese. Diners pick one potato at a time, possibly with a special fork, and peel it in their plate. – Relaxed Dec 17 '14 at 4:04
  • @Relaxed Huh, hadn't thought of that. But no good if you want to actually grill things! – Cascabel Dec 17 '14 at 6:10

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