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Traditional Christmas Eve Meal:  Raclette

     Raclette
Photo: © thongsee - Fotolia.com

Another recent Christmas Eve tradition is Raclette.  Raclette originates in Switzerland, but is very popular in Germany as well.  For Raclette, a special appliance, an electric Raclette grill, is used to melt individual portions of cheese on small broiling trays. Each guest then adds his/her own combination of seasonings, vegetables (such as boiled potatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes), meats, and bread. Many Raclette grills also have a grilling area on top, where you can cook meats and vegetables.

The traditional Raclette meal consists of melted cheese eaten with boiled (or roasted) potatoes with small pickles and pickled onions. However, to make it a festive, interactive get-together, you could include a variety of meats, vegetables, and breads. The cheese that is used is also called Raclette, a semi-firm cow's milk cheese used primarily for melting. If you can't find Raclette cheese, you can substitute your favorite melting cheese instead, like Gouda, Brie, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, or Emmentaler.

For a festive Raclette party that is sure to please all your family members and guests, here are some foods to have ready.

Melting cheese (calculate about 1/4 pound per person)
A nice mixture of vegetables (mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, carrots, onions). You may want to pre-cook some of the vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, carrots, and cauliflower, so they just need reheating.
Boiled potatoes, whole pickles, and pickled pearl onions - this is the traditional combination for Raclette.
Sliced ham, salami, bacon (bacon can be served raw and then cooked on the top grill)
Pre-cooked pasta
A variety of meats, cubed into small bite-sized pieces. These can also be cooked on the top grill.
Shrimps (pre-cooked)

A spread like this will ensure that everyone can create their own favorite combinations.








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