It’s that time of year again. Dark outside, the evenings cool, time for warmer clothes and comfort foods. This is the time of year the Swiss set to unwrapping the fondue pots and readying them for large amounts of melted cheese and the first fondue of the season. This is also the season of the beloved Tisch-Grill (Table grill). Practical and smart way to feed your guests with minimum effort, surprisingly it doesn’t seem to have caught on in other parts of the world, yet.
This is surprising as all you need is the table grill, and raclette cheese slices, various types if you like: goats cheese, raclette cheese with green pepper corns etc. and various thinly sliced pieces of meat, the quality here is paramount, I only buy free-range, I feel marginally better about the animals but if you need convincing, you can really taste the difference. Also get some vegetables for grilling, some pickled onions, mushrooms stuffed a household staple cream cheese Cantadou , some gherkins, some pickled garlic if you like that kind of thing, spices, like paprika, various peppers, and I like cumin (djeera) on my melted cheese, which has been met with surprise by various friends, who have nevertheless now embraced the habit for themselves. The skies the limit regarding the ingredients for your dinner – although I would recommend against serving salmon, if you read my previous post, you will understand why. And then when all your guests are assembled, you switch on the grill, put all the food on the table, serve up a big pot of boiled new potatoes, skin on, people peel them themselves, it’s a tradition… And bring out a nicely chilled bottle of white wine or two. We had a Sancerre which was perfect, a Sauvignon blanc would work well too, as would a good Fendant (all doubters take heed: Fendant can be much nicer than it’s reputation) or another very good Swiss wine a Petite Arvine. I cannot of the top of my head think of a red I’d like to drink with melted cheese, if I had to I’d pick a Blauburgunder from Germany (pinot noir grapes). Light, low in alcohol content, pleasantly rough on the palate and to be enjoyed at around 16°C. Steer away from heavy reds. You could also serve black tea, which I like with melted cheese, although it’s not so great with the meat. Whatever you decide to do, in no time at all you are good to go.
Simple and effective and apart from washing up not much work for the hosts.
I have been to dinners for 20 people where a couple of table grills were set up and all guests served themselves. And if you are not feeling environment friendly and don’t mind the inelegance you could of course use paper plates for big groups.