Switzerland hosts first-ever Raclette World Championships
As the weather continues to cool, and the nights start to draw in, there is nothing better than warming the soul by melting Swiss cheese onto potatoes. To celebrate the start of “raclette season" - although die-hard fans may argue that every day is raclette season - last weekend Switzerland held the first-ever World Raclette Championships, with one canton rated a cut above the rest.
87 types of raclette cheese rated in first World Championships
At the event in Morgins on the weekend of October 27, 87 different types of cheese from around the world were tasted, to see which is the best melted on top of bread or potatoes. To choose the winner, a team of 50 experts and consumers rated each raclette cheese by colour, shelf life, texture, strength and flavour.
Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Canada and Great Britain all took part in the inaugural competition. Japan, Brazil and Argentina were also slated to participate, but their bids were scuppered due to “administrative issues.”
Among those facing off against the cheese masters of Switzerland were Canada, represented by a Swiss citizen from Valais who now produces raclette in the land of maple, and Romania, represented by a man who got a taste for the delicacy when working in Valais as a doctor.
The best raclette in the world comes from Switzerland
While the international contingent put on a good show, they melted in comparison to the Swiss entries. In first place in the raw milk cheese category was Le Pont from Champéry (Valais), the alpine cheese category was won by Tanay from Vouvry (Valais) and the “other cheese” category was won by the Seiler Sélection by Wyssmüller Maître Fromager from Giswil, Canton Obwalden.
Despite what some may consider as rampant Swiss and Valais favouritism, the canton in the mountains did face stiff competition from France, with two French raclettes from the Haute-Savoie and Vuisternens-en-Ogoz placing in close second in the raw milk and other cheese competitions.
In all, the organisers confirmed that 10.000 people showed up to see the winners chosen, with 30.000 raclettes served with over four tons of potatoes. The event was helped along by a dozen “cheese scrapers”, who were specially trained to make sure that the melted cheese was at the right temperature without being burnt.