Dinner in Lucerne – Christmas in Europe
It’s Boxing Day evening and except for a few restaurants, the place was pretty shut. It’s a pity as there were some interesting shops in the back alleys that I would have liked to explore. A couple of restaurants were suggested and given the cold weather a raclette meal at the Fondue House sounded like a good idea. We walked in and first impression was that the place looked a little kitsch, but when the restaurant manager came around, he was very authoritative and knew exactly what we needed. He must have learned this technique to avoid tourists dilly dallying over the order and wasting his time! Anyway, with Swiss precision, the meal started to happen. The raclette grill was turned on, a basket of French bread and a bowl of boiled vegetables were placed on the table and then the block of cheese was placed under the grill. As the top of the cheese melted and formed a little crust, you scrape it onto your plate to have with the bread or vegetables. The cooking cheese smelled heavenly and it was delicious. The people at the other tables had fondue, but we could see them envying our raclette.
Apparently raclette existed as far back as the Middle Ages. Shepherds would place half a wheel of cheese by the stove where it would be heated. As the cheese melted and bubbled they would scrape off the top layer for their meal. The term raclette probably originated from the French word ‘racler’ which is to scrape off.
Well the dinner was enjoyable and up to this day that meal is imprinted in our memory. Raclette now forms part of our dinner routine, although I’ve yet to acquire the real grill.