Despite the Total Lockdown, our Christmas Eve (Heiligabend, or holy evening) was not too different from last year; we had a nice evening of Raclette with Roland’s parents. The big difference: in 2020 our evening ended in a fun scramble to get home before the Bavarian government-imposed 9 pm curfew. (It’s a 500€ fine if the cops stop you. That’s a serious dent in the cheese budget. That’s all I’m sayin’.)
Raclette is a smooth-melting cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland, or France, that is served all warm and melty on top of bread or vegetables. The variation where half a wheel is warmed under a special heater is popular at winter markets. At home we enjoy slices of raclette melted in a pan under a special grill.
It’s a slow, social form of dining, very much like fondue, and because all the components are prepared in advance, allowing the host/hostess to enjoy the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen, it’s quite popular for holiday gatherings. Bonus: As each guest chooses what they put in their own pan, you can accommodate a range of dietary preferences with little effort.
A lot of people like to grill fish or meat. After some trial and error we have determined that eating our weight in cheese punctuated by the occasional spicy hard salami is The Way.
This year we enjoyed a selection of cheeses from both Switzerland and France.
It’s very important to have something to snack on while you wait for the cheese to melt!
With some patience, you can get a nice brown crust on the cheese.
Finally, a Public Service Announcement: If you forgot your boom box while fleeing from Polizei Freising as they broke up your Heiligabend Corona Party last week, you can pick it up at their station. Hope this helps!