Make It: Raclette Seasoning

Raclette seasoning is sprinkled onto the melted cheese to enliven its flavor. Finding none in the US, I figured out how to make it from scratch.

raclette seasoning in a white dish
Raclette seasoning is also used for fondue

Raclette, a dish served during the chilly Alpine winters of Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France, is essentially cheese heated until it begins to melt and bubble. There is a special grill for the dish; Sausages and potatoes are placed on the grill, above the heat source to sear while below, paddles filled with cheese are placed to perfectly melt. Required in my house are the traditional accompaniments of pickled onions, cornichons, endive salad, a lively, minerally white wine. And a jar of raclette seasoning.

Raclette seasoning (which can also be used for fondue, btw), a spice blend including paprika and pepper, is sprinkled onto the melted cheese to enliven its flavor. It is a must on our table, its savory-sweetness a flavorful layer atop the boldly scented cheese. Way back when, a small bottle of Zurich-based Butty Fondue-Raclette spice was hauled out of the darkest reaches of the spice cabinet when raclette was on the mnu. When our last Butty bottle was just about empty and no trip to Switzerland was planned,  we needed raclette seasoning, stat. Butty is not sold Stateside (and has since been purchased by McCormick who no longer makes the seasoning blend).

The internet proved useless in this quest. So I figured out how to make raclette seasoning to match the taste of the much-missed Butty Fondue-Raclette seasoning. Note that thyme and caraway seeds are NOT used to season raclette in the Canton of Zurich. (Well, at least in the house Stefan grew up in, in the Canton of Zurich.) If you find a recipe that includes either, please report your results.

Raclette Seasoning Recipe

Note: Beau Monde seasoning, around since the days of Ernest Hemingway (he liked it in his hamburger), is a mix of salt, onion and celery seed. It is available at Safeway and other stores. If you cannot find it, substitute ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon finely ground celery seed, and ½ teaspoon onion powder.

3 teaspoons (8 grams, .3 oz.) cumin
2 teaspoons (6 grams, .2 oz.) finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons (6 grams, .2 oz.) ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons (4 grams, .15 oz.) ground mustard
1 ½ teaspoons (4 grams, .15 oz.) California paprika (sweet)
1 ½ teaspoons (4 grams, .15 oz.) Beau Monde seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons (4 grams, .15 oz.) ground fenugreek
1 ½ teaspoons (4 grams, .15 oz.) finely ground garlic powder (not salt)

Thoroughly mix spices together and place in a spice jar. Seal tightly until needed. Before use, have the Zürcher in the house taste it. Additional nutmeg and cumin are invariably requested.

My family enjoying raclette at Thanksgiving last year.
Raclette, a Thanksgiving tradition at our house.

This post originally appeared June 20, 2023