A Swiss Culinary Journey: Exploring the Kingdom of Raclette in Valais

When it comes to Swiss cuisine, few dishes are as iconic and beloved as raclette. Nestled in the charming village of Bruson, near the renowned Verbier ski resort, lies the « Raclette House » of Eddy Baillifard, a former cheesemaker turned culinary entrepreneur. This rustic eatery is dedicated to celebrating Switzerland’s cherished gastronomic delight – raclette. Legend has it that the dish was invented by a Valaisan viticulteur named Léon, who, on a cold day, melted a piece of cheese over an open fire and savored the gooey result. Thus, the quintessentially Valaisan raclette was born, captivating palates not only in Switzerland but also far beyond its borders.

A Slice of History

Raclette’s history in Valais dates back to 1574 when melted cheese was already a known delicacy. However, it wasn’t until 1874 that the dish officially acquired its name « raclette, » derived from the French verb « racler, » as it involves scraping the layer of melted cheese that forms on a wheel placed in front of an open flame.

The story of Valaisan cheese, even more ancient, can be traced back to the 4th century BC. During the Roman era, alpine cheese gained a reputation for its quality. From the 14th to the 19th century, this prized commodity was often used as currency, a form of compensation, or an export product. Today, Raclette du Valais AOP is still crafted following time-honored recipes, preserving the culinary heritage of the region.

The Raclette House Experience

Eddy Baillifard’s « Raclette House » offers an authentic and immersive experience, where visitors can savor the rich history and flavors of raclette. The cozy restaurant combines rustic charm with modern comforts, providing the perfect ambiance to enjoy this Swiss delicacy.

The centerpiece of any visit to the Raclette House is the raclette-grilling process. Guests have the opportunity to watch as the Raclette du Valais AOP cheese wheel is gently heated, creating that signature layer of oozy cheese. The melted cheese is then scraped onto plates, ready to be paired with a variety of accompaniments such as potatoes, pickles, and cured meats, making for a delightful and satisfying meal.

Raclette House in Bruson

Raclette House in Bruson

When the King of Spain Met the King of Raclette: An Authentic Encounter

As fate would have it, I found myself seated at the same table as Eddy during the pre-dinner aperitif, sipping on the region’s typical white wine, « Fendant, » which pairs exquisitely with cheese dishes.

Eddy shared a trove of anecdotes, and here’s one exclusively for you: Once in his restaurant, a group of local farmers dropped by for a drink before their meal. Given their rural background, they carried a rather pungent aroma of manure, which soon permeated the entire establishment. Eddy was in a quandary, unable to ask them to leave as it was thanks to these very individuals that the cheese could be made.

It was precisely at this moment that a significant entourage from Verbier arrived at the restaurant – none other than the King of Spain and his family. Eddy found himself even more flustered, having to welcome such a prominent figure while the lingering scent of cows still hung in the air. Undeterred, the royal family settled in and savored the finest raclette in the country.

At the end of their meal, the King of Spain approached Eddy and said, « This has been the most authentic experience I’ve ever had. » It was a remarkable encounter where the King of Spain met the King of Raclette, a tale that adds a touch of regal charm to the Raclette House’s unique allure.

When tradition meets innovation

A true testament to Valais ingenuity emerges in the form of Roboclette. As the world’s first machine capable of expertly scraping melted cheese, Roboclette was brought to life through the collaborative efforts of the Idiap Research Institute, Eddy Baillifard, Valais/Wallis Promotion, and Workshop4.0. This technological marvel not only showcases the fusion of tradition and innovation but also exemplifies the untapped potential of artificial intelligence research in Valais. The marriage of timeless raclette tradition with cutting-edge technology in Roboclette is a captivating illustration of how Valais continues to push the boundaries of culinary excellence.

Why You Should Visit

Visiting the Raclette House is not just about tasting exceptional cheese but also about immersing yourself in the culinary traditions and history of Valais. It’s a chance to enjoy a genuine Swiss experience while savoring a dish that has stood the test of time. The warmth of the Raclette House, coupled with the delicious, gooey cheese, will leave you with lasting memories of Valais’ rich gastronomic heritage.

Fondue Bagnarde

I also recommend Eddy Baillifard’s cheese fondue – a pure delight. It’s a subtle blend of Raclette AOP from the Valais, Mi-Gras, and Gruyère AOP cheeses. The mixture already contains starch and is ready to be enjoyed. Rub your fondue pot with garlic, add 0.6 dl of Fendant du Valais for every 200 grams of fondue mix, add the cheese, and bring it to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture is well blended, place your pot on the burner and maintain the heat (without boiling) to savor the deliciousness!

The Raclette House in Bruson is more than just a restaurant; it’s a portal into the world of Swiss raclette and the cultural significance it holds in Valais. Eddy Baillifard’s passion for this culinary tradition has transformed his restaurant into a haven for raclette enthusiasts and curious food lovers alike. If you find yourself near Verbier, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this unique destination and indulge in the king of all raclette experiences. Your taste buds and curiosity will thank you.

Exclusive recommendations just for you

I have several tips to recommend for savoring this typical Swiss dish:

  1. Pair it with a glass of Fendant wine for a perfect accompaniment. If you prefer non-alcoholic options, indulge in an alpine herb tea.
  2. Avoid letting the cheese cool down, as it may become hard.
  3. Embrace the traditional raclette ritual, allowing each person to savor their melted cheese immediately without waiting for all other guests to be served.
  4. Season your raclette with pepper to enhance the flavors.
  5. The classic raclette is traditionally served with jacket potatoes, pickles, and small onions. Feel free to explore variations by including mushrooms, pickled vegetables, or a blend of spices as accompaniments.
  6. In case of a large party, some waiting time between servings is inevitable. To keep your guests satisfied, offer a typically Valaisan dish featuring air-dried meat, raw ham, country-style sausages, all accompanied by delicious Valaisan rye bread.
  7. Don’t forget about the « religieuses, » the crispy edges of the cheese. Typically, the scraper will ask if you want them.

Here are some links to directly supply you with cheese. Typically, delivery is available only within Switzerland due to the phytosanitary requirements of the product :


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