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Raclette

Pronunciation: [rah-KLEHT, ra-KLEHT]

1. A cow's-milk cheese from Switzerland's Valais canton that was made as far back as the Middle Ages. Although smaller in size, it's similar to gruyère in both texture (semifirm and dotted with small holes) and flavor (mellow and nutty). It's ripened for a minimum of 2 months but more typically for 4 to 6 months. It can be found in specialty cheese stores and many supermarkets. See also cheese. 2. A dish by the same name consisting of a chunk of raclette cheese that is exposed to heat (traditionally an open fire) and scraped off as it melts. (Electric raclette machines are also available.) The word raclette comes from racler, French for "to scrape." It's served as a meal with boiled potatoes, dark bread and cornichons or other pickled vegetables.