Gooey, stringy, sticky, gloopy. Whichever texture is your favourite, it seems that the human race has a soft spot for melted cheese. And who can blame us? Whether it's grated on to pasta, grilled on toast with Worcestershire sauce, sliced and placed atop a crumpet or bubbling on your Sunday cauliflower cheese - the reason we love it remains the same. Comfort. Rather inexplicably so, melted cheese holds that special place in our hearts that none of us can really explain. So, in the depths of winter, when the wind is howling outside and you're wrapped up in your favourite knitted jumper, it's time to get out the grater and melt some cheese.
The Melted Cheese Renaissance
The 1970s saw dinner parties across the country dipping everything from grapes to crackers into a molten pot of cheese balancing over a tealight. After a few decades off, restaurants, food trucks and entrepreneurs from LA to London have been experimenting in recent years with the trend to melt cheese over everything and anything. And people are loving it.
Many melted cheese dishes originate from a hearty tradition born in alpine regions. Take raclette which hails from the mountainous Swiss canton of Valais; a big wheel of cheese is melted next to a grill or open flame which is then scraped off and drizzled over the food in question. It works particularly well melted over potatoes and root vegetables, served with pickles and cured meats. Some UK and US restaurateurs have opened entire concepts focused on this molten wheel of cheese, but we decided to head to the Cornish coast with Ben Quinn and make a campfire raclette.
You no longer have to live in the Alps - or in the 70s - to enjoy a good fondue. The fondue is well and truly back, and it looks like it's here to stay. Is it the social aspect which has us reaching for the long forks and tea lights? After all, cooking together over an open flame inspires conversation and togetherness. Or is it the white wine laced pot of melted cheeses paired with the accompanying array of varying textures, colours and flavours to dunk? It's probably both. For a classic Swiss cheese fondue, a mix of traditional, firm mountain-style cheeses is best. We like a blend of gruyere, fontina and gouda.
Other Melted Cheese Recipes
Mac 'n' Cheese
Since Kraft put it in a box in 1937 many American kids grew up with macaroni and cheese on the table. Although we're not making any complaints on the boxed version, nothing beats freshly made macaroni smothered with your favourite cheese, and adding our goat's cheese adds a new dimension to this classic.
See our mac 'n' cheese recipe here.
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
An American classic and has guaranteed attendance at every street food market in the US and UK. Just like Mathew Carver, founder of The Cheese Bar, says: ‘The key is using quality ingredients – British cheese and sourdough. Cook them low and slow to ensure the bread is crisp and the cheese is fully melted.’
See our cheese toastie recipe here.
Layers of thinly sliced celeriac are baked with potatoes, double cream, Quicke's mature cheddar and a little garlic and rosemary. Tastes great with roast lamb.
See our dauphinois recipe by Gill Meller here.
Our Top Picks For a Melted Cheese Feast
A great street food truck melting and celebrating the best of British cheese since 2013. The Cheese Truck works closely with producers, sourcing all cheese direct from UK farms (including us) that are making cheese in a traditional and thoughtful way. Find them at the famous Maltby Street Market every weekend.
The place for cheese in London. And melted cheese for that matter. Grab your cheese-loving friends and head to Fondue Thursdays at their stylish spot in Camden.
Two brothers are making a name for themselves with melted cheese fans in London with their grilled cheese food truck and stall. Hey, they can even bring their raclette truck to your wedding!
The Raclette Brothers' bit on the side. In this small Alpine bistro in a converted shipping container in Pop Brixton, you'll soon believe you're in the snowy mountains of the Alps. The brothers have melted cheese in all shapes and sizes with both Raclette and fondue on the menu.
Famous for being London's original mac 'c' cheese dealer, you'll find these guys at music festivals, street food markets and even weddings across the UK. The Spicy Juan is truly delicious.
Aiming to wipe out bland so-called Mac 'n' cheese and make the American classic great again. With delicious spins on the original, from La Mede Babe with pesto, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella to Hey Mac-Arena with Smokey Chipotle beef chilli con carne, tortilla chips, sour cream and jalapeños.