FB : Cheeses Of Europe
Thanks to the wonderful invitation, I recently went to a Raclette Party at Cocott’ KL that was jointly organized by the French Interbranch Dairy Organization and European Union, to promote the pre-eminence and finesse of European Cheese.
We had the chance to melt and enjoy Brie, Reblochon, Fourme D’Ambert, Comte, Saint Nectaire, Gouda and Scamorza over table top Raclette machines, enjoyed with various cooked and raw vegetable such as Sliced Fresh Pepper, Button Mushroom, Tomatoes, Corn Kernels, Sliced Green Onions, Pineapple, Baked Potatoes, Cooked Carrots & Peas, Sliced Conference Pears, Sliced Green Apples and Seedless Grapes along with different meats including lamb, beef bacon, smoked chicken and sausages. The tantalizing spread also featured baguette bread, trimmings such as silverskin onions, gherkins/cornichons and spices such as pepper, salt and chilli flakes.
I am always curious to discover the different types of cheeses, and I was glad that Chef Pierre Gay, a cheese master, cheese connoisseur and expert from France, was also at the Raclette party to share his extensive knowledge on European cheese.
“Raclette is a fairly new concept in Malaysia and for a country that loves cheese so much, this is an experience that Malaysians do not want to miss,” explained Chef Pierre Gay. “Raclette is a cheese made of cow milk that has been broiled or melted under direct heat until oozy and a bit crispy and usually scraped over potatoes, crunchy vegetables or cured meats.”
Chef Pierre Gay is the owner of Pierre Gay Fromagerie – one of the oldest cheese houses in Annecy, in the Rhone-Alps in eastern France. The fromagerie known in the region for its fine cheeses was started in 1935, and Pierre took over the company in 1989 from his father. Pierre’s dedication and efforts paid off when he was crowned Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) year 2011, a recognition of being the top in his trade.
Through Chef Pierre Gay’s explanation, I learned that the secret to choose the right cheese for a Raclette is the moisture content.
Do you know that the more moisture the cheese has, the better it melts. Generally European cheeses are more suited for Raclettes and the favourites are Raclette Cheese, Emmental and Comte. Once melted these cheeses will have a nuttier, sweeter flavour.
“The Raclette cheese is an excellent melting cheese and the main cheese used in raclettes and fondues. Pungent yet savoury, the Raclette’s pH level gives it the perfect melting point resulting in a molten liquid that is stringy and holds its shape at the same time,” Chef Pierre Gay added.
I like cheese because it is so versatile! Cheese can be eaten as it is, paired with a classy wine or even incorporated into any dishes – from cold to hot, sweet to spicy, from appetisers to desserts. With stringent quality control and regulations in Europe, European cheeses are always of the highest quality, and the best cheese products are readily available to the consumers in Malaysia.
Since it can be recreated easily, why not try to organise your own Raclette Party and get ready to melt into an epicurean journey with the world’s best European cheeses together with friends and family.
More photos at FOOD Malaysia facebook page, a Malaysian food and lifestyle blogger since 2010