Martine and her friends enjoy having dinner parties from time to time, but rather than slaving away in the kitchen preparing extravagant meals, they keep it simple. The first get-together was a Soirée Crêpe. We went over to Martine's friend's house, Laticia, who owns a Maxi Crêpe! It's a large electric griddle with seven circular indents on the surface for making the crêpes. It's placed in the middle of the dining table surrounded by all the toppings. First we made crêpes salées with chevre, ham, and gruyere (if I remember correctly...it was awhile ago). Each person is given a little wodden spatula to flip and remove their crêpes. As soon as they're removed, Laticia would add more batter to our divet. As we ate, we'd also be flipping and adding toppings to our crêpes on the Maxi Crêpe. Halfway through we switched to crêpes sucrée. We had honey, brown sugar, butter, chestnut spread, peanut butter (!), nutella, and jam for toppings. My personal favorite was Breton style: honey, brown sugar, and butter.
The second gathering was last night. Barbara hosted a Soirée Raclette and invited Martine, Ayumi, Laticia, and Laticia's daughter, Valentine. Barbara owns an electric raclette, also known as a raclonette. The raclonette is an electric griddle with two layers. On the first layer, there are slots for six little wedge shaped spatulas. You put your cheese on the spatula and then put the spatula on the hot raclonette to melt it. The top layer is also hot and you can put anything up there that you want to cook or keep warm. Barbara placed a dish of potatoes on her's. A special cheese is used for the raclette called fromage à raclette. While your cheese is melting you pile your plate full of charcuterie and potatoes, and then dribble the melted cheese over everything. Everyone eats four or five pieces of cheese, so there is a constant cycle of cheese melting and then eating a little.
The raclette électrique or raclonette with cheese melting on the spatulas and the potatoes being kept warm on top.
My plate with charcuterie, potatoes covered in the melted cheese, and more slices of cheese waiting to be melted.