Valais raclette cheese: an authentic culinary specialty
Raclette Valais is an authentic culinary specialty of our mountains, which has successfully survived the centuries. Discover the fascinating history of this iconic dish and succumb to the delicious harmony between cheese melting and the unique flavours of raclette.
History of cheese raclette
The history of raclette dates back to ancient times, as evidenced by Pliny, who mentions the vatusic cheese of the Alps, appreciated in Rome. According to historian Lathion, it is probably the ancestor of Bagnes, one of the cheeses used in the Valais raclette.
In the Middle Ages, more precisely in 1574, Ambuel, pharmacist in Sion, Swiss Valais, reports that on Sundays, the crowd went up to the mountain pasture to taste fatty, sweet and tender cheeses melted in front of the fire. This taste experience was so tasty and satisfying that it was difficult to describe.
The tradition of raclette with Valais cheese
The tradition of the Valais raclette has continued over the centuries. In 1874, Eugène Rambert called it "king of treats", thus testifying to its privileged status in Valais gastronomy. At that time, five notaries even offered the traditional raclette at the Glacière in Sion, marking its cultural and social importance.
The manufacture of Valais raclette cheese
Raclette Valaisanne is produced according to loyal, local and constant practices. The manufacturing techniques are strictly respected, as evidenced by the production journals of the cheese courses given on the Sigeroula pasture in Valais, Switzerland. The raw milk is carefully processed in a copper boiler, at precise pressing and heating temperatures (32°C and 42°C respectively). The coagulation time and the meticulous work of the grain are also essential to obtain the characteristic texture and flavors of Valais raclette cheese.
The controlled designation of origin of raclette Valais (AOC)
The appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) guarantees the authenticity of the Valais raclette. Until the 1960s, raclette cheese was exclusively made in the Valais region. However, over time, imitations began to appear, causing concern among the Valais authorities. They therefore acted and obtained the recognition of the designation of origin for Valais raclette cheese on December 10, 1981, thus preserving its authenticity and quality.
Today, the Valais raclette enjoys an undeniable reputation, both locally and internationally. This authentic specialty deserves to be protected so that the craftsmen who make it are justly rewarded for their work, their know-how and their dedication.
The appellation d'origine contrôlée gives Valais raclette added value and guarantees consumers superior quality. The farmers and cheese makers involved in the production of this exceptional cheese follow strict standards to preserve the unique characteristics of the Valais raclette. The respect of traditional manufacturing methods, the use of quality raw milk and the careful ripening contribute to the reputation of this emblematic product. Thanks to this official recognition, raclette lovers can taste an authentic cheese from the Valais terroir.
The Valais raclette has also managed to conquer palates beyond the borders of Switzerland. Its popularity has spread to many countries, where it has become a staple of gastronomic evenings. The restaurants specializing in Valais raclette offer a unique culinary experience, where the cheese is melted to perfection and served with tasty accompaniments. This export of our gastronomic know-how helps to promote Valais culture abroad and to arouse the enthusiasm of lovers of good food.