Shortly after the first patents were filed, the production of raclette ovens, initially by artisans, began in Central Valais (Switzerland) during the 1950s and 60s. The basic idea was to heat the cut surface of a half raclette cheese held in a horizontal position, initially by means of electric heaters, and later also with infrared gas burners.
The top layer of cheese is melted more or less depending on the distance of the cheese from the heating element, while the underlying layers are heated less. The result is a unique burst of flavor when scraping, a delicious combination of a melted or grilled cheese and a smooth cheese paste.
As far as is known, the first manufacturers, initially artisanal, were David, Meister, Melior and TTM. Later, other manufacturers such as Studer (Zuchwil) and Grossniklaus (Brienz) offered traditional raclette ovens.
The classic raclette oven is particularly suitable for the tasty raclette cheese made from raw milk, because the distance between the cheese and the heating element can be changed depending on the nature of the cheese.
Half cheese rounds were laid flat on wooden or stone boards, without any special equipment. The cut surface was directed towards the open fire or a coal pot. The first patents for raclette ovens were filed at the end of the 1940s by inventors from the central Valais.
Electrical appliances with quartz heaters (for cheese halves). Source of heat above the cut surface ("top heat"). First user–friendly additions (cheese holders, height regulation).
Electric appliances for cheese halves with resistance heating made from stainless steel (the heat rods of today). Increased user comfort (no need to touch the cheese). Increased variety of appliances available (fitting quarter cheese to several cheese halves). Continual development to this day.
Electrical appliances with small pans for individual preparation of raclette cheese portions. Combined with a grill made of sheet steel, cast–iron, die–cast aluminium or stone. The start of a breakthrough as a mass-produced product. Starting to become internationally popular (primarily in the Benelux countries, in France and in Germany).
Introduction of gas appliances for cheese halves.
Development and introduction of appliances with alcohol or paste burners (bottom heat) for individual raclette preparation.
Small–pan raclette on open fire.
Raclette made with tea light candles. Romantic, practical, space– and energy–saving.
Appliances with upper and lower heat (Stöckli). Also suitable for the preparation of small pizzas.
Combination of classic raclette to scrape off the cheese and grill.
Order according to the year of patent filing
The first patents were filed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The inventors were from central Valais, the region that is also considered the home of raclette.
Joseph Burkard, TTM, Sierre
Pascal Burkard, TTM, Sierre