Main Street Cheese offers raclette preorders

  • Raclette cheese, in the process of being aged Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

  • Raclette cheese at Main Street Cheese in Hancock Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

  • Melted raclette to be poured over vegetables, onions and potatoes Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

  • Grilled vegetables on a raclette grill Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

  • Raclette being melted on the raclette grill Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

  • A raclette spread Staff photo—Rowan Wilson

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/13/2021 10:21:34 AM
Modified: 12/13/2021 10:20:58 AM

Imagine grilled vegetables, potatoes and onions, with hot melted cheese poured generously on top.

This is raclette. Originating in Switzerland, raclette was made and carried by cowherders who brought their cattle up into the Alps to graze. The cheese was aged for several months, preserving milk collected in summer through the winter, when it would be eaten by heating up the wheel next to a fire and scraping the melted cheese over potatoes and onions.

Although quite popular in modern Switzerland and parts of Europe, it is not so easy to find in the United States. Main Street Cheese is offering a unique opportunity to try raclette this winter, made locally in Hancock.

The recent uptick in COVID cases as well as uncertainty around a new variant convinced Main Street Cheese president and founder Sarah Gilliatt that this month was not the right time to host an event at her home and farm on Main Street, but the raclette, a “washed rind cheese,” takes a minimum of two months and a lot of work to age properly, and the process is already in full swing. So Gilliatt, along with business manager Dan Field and cheese and farm assistant Megan Baptiste-Field, have devised a way to bring raclette directly to people’s tables.

Those interested can preorder a raclette set, which includes the cheese, a raclette grill to rent, which will melt the cheese to the perfect consistency; and an option to add in the vegetables. The “grills work for up to eight people,” Field said, although there are smaller sizes for smaller parties available, as well.

Unlike most of their cheeses, which are made using the milk from Gilliatt’s goats, raclette is a cow’s milk cheese. The organic milk has been locally sourced from Stonewall Farm in Keene. Raclette sets will be available for pickup starting Dec. 29 at Main Street Cheese. Those interested should preorder at mainstreetcheese.net/products and choose their desired pickup date and time. 

“You can taste when animals are happy,” Baptiste-Field said, adding that many people are surprised by the mild flavor of Main Street Cheese’s goat cheese. The team credits how fresh the ingredients are, how the milk is handled and how the animals are treated. Gilliatt explained that they don’t keep bucks in with the does like some farms do. She said the bucks are smelly and that smell will make its way into the does’ respiratory systems, affecting the taste of the milk, which will in turn make the cheese taste stronger, a quality that turns some off from goat cheese.

Making cheese is complex.

“Timing, temperature, how and when you cut the curd, draining, aging techniques,” Field said. “It’s a science and an art.”

Baptiste-Field added, “There is a lot of creativity to it, and an innate feeling you get.” She said it’s fun “experimenting with different cheeses.”

Gilliatt encourages those around town to come visit the goats, who will most certainly come up to say hello and hope for head-scratches.  

“Milk is a living thing; you are cultivating microbial processes,” Gilliatt said.

She started her first goat herd in 2012, emphasizing that “the best way to save the planet is to eat nutritious, delicious, local food.”

In addition to raclette, Main Street Cheese is offering cheese boards to go this winter. Customers can either special order a fully assembled board or the makings of a cheese board that they can arrange themselves. These would need to be ordered 48 hours ahead of time during the holiday season, and a week in advance the rest of the year. 

Cheese gift baskets are available as well. Customers can choose their cheeses 24 hours in advance and the baskets can be ready the next day. They include six postcards, eight recipes featuring goat cheese and a blank card for a special note.

Those interested in ordering a cheese board or gift basket should visit mainstreetcheese.net/products to order and schedule a pickup. Anyone with questions should contact Field at info@mainstreetcheese.net.

Main Street Cheese has a storefront at 37 Main St. in Hancock offering a variety of goat cheeses year-round. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is run on an honor system. Patrons can either complete an online purchase ahead of time for pickup or can pay in the store with Venmo, cash or a check. Main Street Cheese is also active on Facebook, where they keep the community updated on upcoming events, cheese offerings and farm information. Main Street Cheese hopes to have in-person events in the future. 


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