WTF is raclette, and why is it all over Instagram?
Mashable bites into a creamy, nutty, gooey, and sometimes stinky world during our fist-ever Cheese Week.
Melted cheese over potatoes, cured meats, crusty bread, and other vegetables and delectables. What's not to like? In the Instagram age, raclette is the perfect food to capture the gooey goodness of cheese.
Looking on Instagram, raclette is a hit. In Europe last year it was one of the most Instagrammed foods. Here in the U.S., it's popular throughout the country, especially with millennials and women, according to social media analytics company TalkWalker.
The rise of raclette is connected to the power of social media and the liking masses hungry for gooey cheese. The online appeal of the cheese preparation is crucial to its growing popularity. It looks good on a curated feed, perfectly melted and organized just so with its trays, individual roasting tools, and layers of goo cascading over food. And it's easy to make, literally you just heat it up.
Just stare at this for awhile — we'll wait:
Raclette is a fairly mild type of Swiss cheese from the Alps and also a preparation method. It's not fondue, but often gets mixed up with the other Swiss melted cheese served with bread. Raclette is also melted, but then scraped onto food; it's not for dipping.
For the DIY Instagram crowd, raclette can instantly transport you to a snowy Swiss chalet — or at least make it look like you're not just in your studio apartment.
A whole cottage industry of raclette tools have also found success through Instagram. There's the Partyclette from Dutch company Boska that uses tea candles for a picture-perfect cheese-melting session without any cords for power sources or big equipment. The company's Instagram page reached 4,000 followers earlier this year. Its simple cheese tools capture the allure of eating foods that *look* good.
Different methods and tools lead to the same result of melted raclette cheese, with some contraptions essentially broiling the cheese from above, while others heat from below, like a hot plate. Tabletop grills have been popularized over the years, and allow for making raclette at home. Heating up quarter or half wheels of raclette makes for well-liked social videos, and those shots are often found at food festivals and restaurants.
Due to the Partyclette and other options, raclette isn't something you can only eat on vacation or at a restaurant. At Whole Foods, raclette is available at the cheese counter for $19.99 per pound. For those without melting instruments, raclette's a semi-hard cheese when it's not melted and perfectly delicious consumed in its solid state.
No matter if it's tableside or at a dinner party, there are 63,000 social posts about raclette from the past two years, TalkWalker found when looking into raclette's rise for Mashable. The firm, which looks into social media and the food industry, looked at social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Yelp, and Google Maps.
Looking at other trendy cheeses online, like raclette, fondue sees seasonal spikes in popularity, while creamy burrata is popular year-round, a TalkWalker analyst found. (Raclette is a cozy food for wintertime.)
When you search #burrata, #fondue and #raclette on Instagram, fondue wins by a longshot with around 1 million posts, followed by about 474,000 for raclette, and roughly 34,000 for burrata.
The top five hashtags related to raclette are #raclette #cheese #foodie #foodporn, and #food, according to TalkWalker.
Some of the top Instagram accounts that post about raclette, like the Baked Cheese Haus booth seen at food festivals keep adding followers. Nearly 13,000 people started following that account in the past year alone, based on a CrowdTangle analysis.
Even Dwayne Johnson posts about raclette dinners.
Instagram's love for visual foods has launched a new fandom for raclette. One that's ready to devour all its gooey glory.
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July 31, 2019 at 08:26AM