Heads Up, Christlkindl Visitors
The newly opened Christkindl Markt in Grand Rapids is a festive hit, drawing large crowds in the weeks since it’s opened.
But it’s not just the twinkling lights and holiday crafts that are drawing attention. For those new to Christkindl Markets, the pungent aroma of the Raclette booth has caught many off guard.
An Authentic Market Tradition
Aromatic Raclette cheese sandwiches are a tradition at Christmas markets around the world.
At GR’s Christkindl Markt, the Baked Cheese Haus company has been making and serving long lines of people gooey cheese sandwiches, just like they do at the Christkindl Markets in NYC and downtown Chicago.
They make the sandwiches right in front of you. A large half-wheel of Raclette cheese is heated until it bubbles and melts (and releases a strong smell into the air.)
The melted cheese is scraped onto crusty baguettes and then topped with extras like salami, onions, or pickles.
Raclette Booth: Love It or Leave It
The resulting sandwich is one that people either profess their undying love for, or hastily run away from.
Certainly, the raclette has not won everyone over.
“I honestly thought it might be the sewer drain,” one person remarked.
Others wished for a roasted nuts booth at the GR Market that would provide sugared pecans, and perhaps overcome the strong scent with its own sweet aromas.
But, for each critic, there is a die-hard raclette fan. “It’s Raclette and it’s AMAZING!!!” declares Cally Betts Redder on Facebook. And Allison Maureen chimes in, “Worth it! You can’t even smell it once you start eating.
They echo the thoughts of the many raclette admirers at the market. The long lines at the booth tell the same story.
Where and When to Find It
If you go, you’ll find The Baked Cheese Haus stand at booth 25, on the Ionia Street side of the market.
Despite the stinky smell, this traditional Swiss dish has many people under its spell.
Will you try it?
With the Christkindl market open until December 23, there’s still time for you to get down there and decide yourself if you’re team raclette or not. Once you figure it out, please let us know.
As one visitor noted, “It’s not for everyone, but lots do enjoy it!”
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