Raclette is a type of Swiss-French cheese. It smells unless you’re cooking/eating it. You grill the cheese on a bottom layer. Once it’s at the right melting point, you pour it on top of cooked potatoes, charcuterie, veggies, etc. You can also grill veggies on the top of the grill and/or keep your potatoes warm (depends on your grill). It’s similar to hotpot in that it’s easy to organize and does not require cooking skills.
I’d discovered raclette when I was in Zurich a few years ago and revisited it in Paris at my friend’s housewarming dinner. That friend graciously gifted me a raclette grill, and another friend here offered up his place, which led to a small gathering for a simple NYE raclette dinner.
New Yorkers have it easy. While in Paris, I helped my friend prep and we had to divide and conquer, i.e. go to this store for bread, that store for roses, and another place for wine, etc. We have a grocery delivery service called FreshDirect that has almost everything you need, except the grill and fresh baguettes. The fresh baguettes were easily solved – the market down my street gets daily delivered from TomCat and Balthazar. You can also buy cored pineapple, already cooked beets, peeled shallots, etc. Wash/slice/plate everything else hotpot style and you’re ready to eat!
We also had tons of dessert, both homemade (with a special dose of luck inside) and store-bought. I was so stuffed and could barely eat it! I’m looking forward to another raclette party some time in the near future. Hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve!