As every winter on the podium of the dishes of our region, we find the traditional raclette. But like everyone else, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs and we always have a little cheese and charcuterie left over… What to do? Eating a raclette again the next day? Possible for gourmets, otherwise here is an equally gourmet proposal: raclette-style risotto!
As you know, the Haute-Savoie is a Mecca of mountain gastronomy and for hundreds of years they have been making many cheeses all of which have a history deeply linked to their territory. Today let's focus on raclette cheese !
Raclette, where does this traditional dish come from?
Who invented the raclette?
THEhistory of raclette actually finds origins at our Swiss alpine neighbors more specifically in the Valais at the time of the Middle Ages.
Legend has it that when the Swiss shepherds met, in cold weather, around a good fire, with their snacks - bread, cheese and wine, for lunch - one of them, Leon, would have liked a hot meal. As he had no cooking utensils with him, he had the idea of cooking his cheese directly on the fire. This is how “roasted” cheese is said to have been invented.
In her book “Le grand livre des fromages”, Juliet Harbutt writes about raclette cheese: “Until the XNUMXth century, this cheese, also called bagnes or conches, was known as Valais.
Traditionally, in the chalets of the Valais mountains, the wheel was cut in half, half placed on a flat stone in front of the fireplace and brought close to the fire. When it began to melt, making bubbles, it was scraped with a wooden spatula to make it flow over hot potatoes. […]”.
Crossing the border and the birth of Raclette de Savoie
From the Swiss mountains this tradition of cheese fondue was quickly exported and with the development of tourism in ski resorts the cheese sector will very quickly be structured in our Savoyard departments.
The Raclette de Savoie IGP, in a few key dates
An engineer, Marc Grégoire, invents "the frying pan that does not stick" and creates, in the Paris region, the company Tefal. Seven years later, it moved to Rumilly, in Haute-Savoie, near one of its suppliers of aluminum discs.
In 1970 years
Tefal seeks to diversify. It looks, in collaboration with various local actors (tourism professionals, restaurateurs, cheese makers, etc.), on the development of a specialty of the region and, in particular, on the means of “democratizing” it to a wide audience.
It is the raclette which is chosen. Initially, Tefal, in collaboration with the cheese makers, is working on developing a local raclette cheese recipe that is tastier, more mature and less oily. This is how the Raclette de Savoie was born and its production developed in the fruit dairies.
Since January 27, 2017
Raclette de Savoie is protected by a Protected Geographical Indication which not only recognizes the excellence of its origins and the quality of its manufacture, but also the historical know-how of an entire region.
It is the culmination of a process initiated almost 10 years ago by its producers.
What is a PGI?
THEProtected Geographical Indication (PGI) identifies an agricultural product, raw or processed, whose quality, reputation or other characteristics are linked to its geographic origin.
All PGIs must meet a precise specifications. These rules are defined by the producers themselves and are a guarantee of quality and authenticity for the consumer.
Guarantees of origin for Savoie raclette cheese
For the Raclette de Savoie, from the production of the milk to the refining of the cheese, we insist on the promotion of the local terroir by favoring traditional know-how and exclusive production on the Savoyard territory.
The Raclette de Savoie IGP, in a few figures
- 700 milk producers
- 2 departments concerned: Savoie and Haute-Savoie
- 2300 tons produced in 2016
- Wheels of 6 KG.
- Only 3 cow breeds are mainly used to produce raclette.
A cheese with character, made from the milk of local cows
L'Abondance: whose worthy representative "Neige" was the face of the Paris Agricultural Show in 2022
Abondance originates from the Abondance valley in Haute-Savoie. It is found almost exclusively in the land of Reblochon and Abondance cheese.
She is easily recognized by her mahogany robe. The head, legs, tail and belly are white and she often has spots around her eyes that look like glasses (the spots protect her from the sun). His foot is hard and his ability to walk is adapted to the mountains of the Reblochon region. The quality of its milk (protein-fat ratio) is optimal for cheese processing.
The Montbéliarde: a rustic cow emblematic of the Monts Jura
The Montbéliarde originates from the Monts du Jura. Her dress is white with large brown-red spots all over her body. It is the most important mountain cow breed in terms of numbers.
It is of course found in the Jura, its country of origin, but also in the Northern Alps, the Massif Central and even in certain countries of Eastern Europe. Its milk is very suitable for processing into cheese.
The Tarine: this emblematic cow from the Tarentaise region and dressed in a hazelnut color
The Tarine or Tarentaise is a cow originating from Tarentaise in Savoie. Her dress is hazelnut in color with dark eyes as if made up in black. This breed is found in the Beaufortain, throughout the Tarentaise and a little in the Aravis.
This cow is very comfortable in the mountains and climbs very well in mountain pastures. Its milk is suitable for processing into cheese.
Get raclette cheese directly from the producer in Combloux
Here in Combloux we have many farms that produce raclette cheese: The GAEC “Val Mont-Blanc” and GAEC "The Farm Les Montagnards". These farms both have a direct sales site on the farm or in the heart of the village.
They have not registered with the IGP appellation but offer succulent farmhouse raclettes with different flavors : plain, smoked, wild garlic or with truffles, there is something for everyone...
You can also find goat raclette or melt Morbier which is also delicious!
Note that you can also find raclette cheeses from our Comboran farms at the fruit farm of Domancy or Val d'Arly cooperative !
Enough history, it's time to sit down to eat and as I told you, here is a quick and easy recipe for using up leftover cheese and charcuterie from a raclette.
Raclette-style risotto, a fabulous way to revisit this local cheese
Raclette-style risotto, a recipe as gourmet as it is original
Ingredients for 5 people
Cooking your Savoie raclette risotto: the stages of preparation
Slice and sauté the onion, the garlic cloves and the diced ham in the butter in a large casserole dish until they turn translucent.
Reduce the heat, add the rice and olive oil, stirring until the edges of the rice grains become translucent. If the rice is not wet enough, do not hesitate to add a little olive oil to prevent the rice from burning!
Once the grains are translucent, wet with white wine and let it absorb completely. Once this is done, add a ladle of vegetable broth and let it absorb. Repeat the operation until the broth is used up.
Add the diced cheese off the heat, return to heat over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and taste to adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve and eat immediately.
Good tasting !