The Concord Cheese Shop Is Where the Sun Always Shines for Raclette
Cheesiest Party I’ve Ever Attended
Recently, the Concord Cheese Shop threw a raclette party. Yes, raclette- the scrumptious, divinely melty, Alpine cheese. Even though its origins are Swiss, raclette is widely celebrated and consumed in France, especially in the Alps region. Rich in nutty flavor, this cheese pairs best with potato, cornichons, and dried salty meats. However, raclette is actually infamous for how it’s consumed. Because of its creamy, milky texture, raclette melts like a dream. It’s commonly scraped directly from the block under a specialized heat lamp or fire, which is actually where the name derives. Racler means ‘to scrape’ in French. Regardless, I’ve got a confession to share. I’m going to go there. Raclette is sexy- so sexy that the internet decided it necessary to create a video of raclette melting to the notorious, sensual balladry of Marvin Gaye’s, Let’s Get It On. Take a moment to watch that, and then tell me you don’t need a stiff cocktail after. Whew!
Since the Concord Cheese Shop clearly understands raclette’s value as a refined necessity in the cheese realm, they rightfully gave it a deserving celebration. Vicki, host and dedicated cheese monger, even dressed in traditional garb as she prepared the cheese alongside bacon, potato, cornichon, and onions. Patrons of all ages and backgrounds joined in on the fun, and Vicki cheerfully shared her enthusiasm with every single guest regardless of the rapidly growing crowd size.
The party was fun, informative, and most importantly- delicious. I happily sampled raclette with both bacon and speck. My favorite memory of the day was initially walking into the Concord Cheese Shop and immediately being hit with the most intoxicating warmed raclette aroma. Even Mother Nature knew the importance of this event. The day had started rainy and gloomy, and as I parked my car, the sun started to shine. By the time I walked to the storefront, the skies were clear, vivid, and blue- not a trace of cloud to be found.
A BRIE-f Note about Concord
The Concord Cheese Shop is nestled on Concord’s quaint and historic Walden Street. The town itself is considered one of Massachusetts’ most historical areas with its paramount role in the revolutionary era. Concord is also a literary epicenter and home to great authors such as Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s no wonder that tourists flock to this charming, quintessential New England town. Concord is one of my favorite places, bursting with history, art, iconic architecture, culture, and cheese, glorious cheese.
A Selection You Won’t WINE about
The Concord Cheese Shop is a mecca for not only fine cheese, but also a wide array of other specialty fare. After all, what good is your raclette if you don’t have anything tasty pairings for it? The shop offers a bounty of fine local and international wines along with a thorough knowledge. During my great raclette blackout- the few hours I was under the influence of sultry melting cheese- I shopped for wine that would nicely accompany the French and Swiss raclette varieties in my shopping basket. I inevitably bought a Savoie and Jura through the suggestion from the Concord Cheese Shop’s wonderful staff.
The shop has so much to offer! Candies, chocolates, bread, crackers, teas, meats, and a deli with a decent menu of specialty sandwiches and prepared food. In honor of the party, the deli prepared its own tartiflette– a traditional French potato casserole often served with raclette. Naturally, I had to take some to go. Research, right?
Go Before the Raclette is Gor-GONE-zola
If you have a passion for cheese- even if you don’t know anything about it- go to the Concord Cheese Shop. I love cheese, if that weren’t already obvious. Yet, I’m not knowledgeable whatsoever. I grew up with Velveeta as the benchmark, until I spent time in France. The Concord Cheese Shop isn’t one of those snobby, condescending places either. In fact, they are sincerely enthusiastic about sharing their love of cheese with patrons. I visited on a Saturday, which is typically busy anyways, during an advertised event. The shop was packed! Regardless, the incredible cheese monger, Stacy, treated me as if I were the only person in the room. She offered me several samples of raclette, carefully explaining regional and compositional differences between each, and we chatted about how we would enjoy tasting it all. I also asked for some roblochon, which they did not have as it is actually illegal to sell in Massachusetts. Stacy again took the time to explain to me the legal limitations of cheese in our state, but offered other comparable varieties as viable options.
The Concord Cheese Shop is one of my favorite local escapes. Every time I go, I know I’m going to walk away with something new and fun. This time, I was thrilled to finally treat myself to some raclette. It’s one of those places that makes me feel justified in spoiling myself a little. Unlike in France, fromageries are not on every block, so finding a good specialty cheese shop is really discovering a precious treasure. You can have your cheese and eat it too. That’s the saying, right?
À La Prochaine.
The Concord Cheese Shop
29 Walden Street