What a 'find' these were. A complete set of GIEN 'La Raclette' dishes from the 1970s.
These charming plates have a gorgeous, detailed, sketch illustration of a big slice of cheese, alongside some salami, potatoes, tomatoes, pickled onions and mushrooms, surrounded by delicate leaves, grasses and flowers of the countryside.
This is an absolutely classic 1970's design and color scheme, soft warm brown and beige.
The name "raclette" (pronounced rah-klett in its native French) refers to a meal and to a type of cheese with the same name. The traditional dish can be described as melted cheese eaten with boiled (or roasted) potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions.
The cheese 'Raclette' is a semi-hard cow's milk swiss cheese that is usually fashioned into a wheel of about 6 kg (13lbs).
Made by the famous French GIEN pottery, founded in 1821, these plates are now very rare and collectible.
Each plate carries the famous 'GIEN Château' logo on the underside.
The six plates measure 24cms (9½") diameter.
None of the plates have chips but all do have an ageing 'hairline crackle' to the glaze, which is to be expected with the age of this set, and does not in any way detract from their beauty; in fact it adds to the charm and authenticity of these gorgeous items.
A Raclette meal is a very social occasion, in much the same way as a Fondue, and was very popular in the 1970s. It is still very popular today in France and, with the tradition originating in Switzerland, Raclette, is one of Switzerland's best loved national dishes.
Here is an example of a recipe for you to try out on these dishes:
For 4 Persons.
8 small/medium potatoes
700g (1½lbs) Raclette Cheese
1 jar pickled gherkin cucumbers (cornichons)
4 small onions (or shallots)
24 slices salami or ham
freshly ground pepper
Other optional ingredients:
leg ham, prosciutto (thin Italian ham), pepperoni(spiced salami), tomatoes, pineapple, capsicum, prawns, fresh or dried herbs, avocado, onions, marinated chicken/beef, mushrooms, celery, asparagus, olives, crusty bread, or salads
Brush potatoes under running water and place in microwave-proof bowl half filled with luke warm water and cook on high for 6 mins in their skins. Alternatively you can boil the potatoes on the stove top in a pot filled with water for approximately 18mins on high.
Remove the rind (outer surface) from the cheese. You will need a sharp knife to remove the rind. Once the rind is removed slice 2mm thick slices (thinner if preferred) from the block using a knife or wire cheese slicer. Place on a serving dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
Arrange gherkins, onions and salami/ham on a platter and set aside until required.
When ready to serve, set table and place raclette grill in the centre of your table and placed cooked potatoes on top of raclette grill in metal bowl or saucepan with lid to keep warm and place gherkins, onions and cheese on table.
Turn raclette grill on to begin to heat up (takes only a minute or two). Each guest takes a slice of cheese, places it in their pan and slides it under the raclette grill to melt. It takes approximately 2 mins to melt to a creamy consistency and 3 mins for a crispier top. In the meantime take a potato, place onto your plate and cut it into a few pieces and take out the pan from under the grill once it's reached it's preferred consistency and hold the pan onto its side to scrape the cheese out using your wooden spatula. Non- stick pans will allow the cheese to just slide off.
Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.
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