Raclette was a frequent meal in my family growing up, but it was always a treat. It was only slightly tarnished by my parents telling me later that its appeal was mainly because it was cheap, filling, and the kids did most of the cooking. Despite my mom’s French-Canadian roots, though, we never had it with raclette cheese.
I didn’t plan to have raclette when I bought Raclette de Compton au poivre by Fromagerie La Station from Quebec (nominated in the flavoured cheese with added particulate solids and flavourings category for the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix), but I did once I realized raclette would be a great way to sample all the cheeses.
Turns out, I didn’t even know from what a treat raclette can be. Even if the raclette au poivre didn’t have it in the name, it’d be clear that it’s perfect for raclette at the first taste.
The creamy consistency is irresistible as the glue that holds the topping, bread and cheese gang together. It’s key. But it’s also rich and tangy with hints of strong flavour you don’t always find in semi-soft, melty cheeses. It reminds me of a softer Louis D’Or.
But then comes the pepper. It challenges the rich creaminess in the way a good partner does: by supporting rather than combatting. It offsets the tanginess, makes it taste sharp and clean, and there’s a small undercurrent of extreme bitterness in that layer, like a raw cacao nib, if you’ve ever had one.
Hit it with some acid – wine, anyone? – and you’ve got yourself a trifecta. Now that is a treat.
This is the fifth profile of eight cheeses I tried ahead of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Click here for more on the awards.