Do you ever have that thing happen? That thing when previously unaware of the existence of something, once you become aware of it, you see it everywhere? That thing is happening to me now with Raclette and I find myself wondering, is this a Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon thing… or is Raclette just very in right now?
Food trends are a real thing, the next big ingredient, flavor, technique. There are people who research, publish and give speeches that predict what’s coming next to a table near you. Take Forbes covering the National Restaurant Association’s Culinary Forecast for example. Plenty in those reports about local and sustainable sourcing, veggies, gluten-free and healthier kid’s meals. All trends that make me smile ear to ear, imagining a day when kids think Cheetos fingers are “totally gross” not youthful tasty fun.
Yet none of these trend reports or any other research I tried, turned up a reason for my Raclette recall. None of it explains why I’m seeing Raclette everywhere lately? Three times in the last week alone! Please tell me there is someone else out there picking up what Raclette is throwing down.
Could it be my fellow Jersey Boy Tom Colicchio is also dreaming of sitting down to a plate of melted cheese over potatoes like I recently did at Le Passage in Briançon France, where this obsession began? After all, just a few days ago walking past one of his NYC hotspots, I stopped in my tracks to lingering over a sidewalk board burnishing the Craftbar “Double Stack” Burger with Raclette, Bacon Jam, Pickled Onion and Roasted Tomato. Well Tom, you handsome tempting devil you… you had me at Raclette. Add the pickled onion and how dare you place a sidewalk board so prominently in my view! How can I think of anything else but your burger now?
Alas, a little poking around and I discovered Tom’s Double Stack Burger has likely been dripping down happy hands in Craftbar since 2011. So I continue my search for the reason Raclette keeps popping up everywhere. Perhaps I can blame the New York Times? While quietly Twittering my own business the other morning, I stumbled across Grilled Cheese? Try a Tartine Recipes Instead. There it was again! Raclette melted and oozing all over bacon lardons and wilted spinach on what no doubt was the perfectly crisp, toasted piece of rustic bread.
Darn you cheese, you’re haunting me now. Following me! Ok, the answer is to leave town, run away. Get that pungent, slightly salty, freshly melted semi-soft, raw cow’s milk wonder out of my brain. Surely another shore is far enough… Portland that should do it. One hitch, Portland is a Food Town, a mecca of culinary hipness. More flannel graces Portland’s Division Street than the Bedford stop in Williamsburg.
There it was again, for the third time in a week, Raclette innocently cubed, sat on the counter at Pastaworks daring me to walk by without picking up one of those little toothpicks and spearing into instant happiness. Ok I give! Raclette, I love you. It doesn’t matter if no one else is digging you right now, I am. My memories of you from when my Husband first introduced us in France on that snowy January afternoon inside the safe walls of Briançon stays vivid and true.
I’ll never forget the sound of you sizzling, melting down in a rind strong enough to hold you together before my Husband so expertly scrapped you onto my plate. The smell that rises as your warmth smoothers the traditional potato fixings. Sigh… perhaps it’s just the near memories of experiencing Raclette in France with my love for the first time that are prompting the pronouncement of my recent observations.
You might not exactly be a trend the food world is ready to acknowledge; but, I see you for the hearty, comforting treat you are and hearby recommend melting you to all who read this post and view the photos below.