Learning French while cooking and baking

Learning French while preparing a raclette dinner with kids

Large family gatherings are out this year, so we’re taking the opportunity to rethink holiday traditions and create new ones that will bring our daughter just as much joy. We decided that our Christmas dinner will be smothered in melted cheese. After all, Surya has never met a cheese she didn’t like. If you’re intimidated by the idea of making raclette with kids, here’s a simple version that makes it a fun family activity.

What is raclette?


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Raclette is a type of cheese that originates in Switzerland. It also refers to a winter-time meal that uses this cheese as its main ingredient. To prepare a raclette dinner, you’ll need a raclette grill.

Ingredients for a raclette dinner

The traditional ingredients are potatoes, charcuteries, and raclette cheese, served with various pickled items. However, you can experiment with other ingredients, depending on what you and your family enjoy the most. I do recommend getting the authentic raclette cheese unless it’s not readily available where you live. Depending on the age of your child, you may need to go with pasteurized cheese.

Here are the ingredients we used for our raclette dinner.

raclette with kids
Sweet potatoesdes patates douces
Breaddu pain
Mushroomdes champignons
Cold cutsde la charcuterie
raclette cheesedu fromage à raclette
red and orange peppersdes poivrons rouges et orange

Preparing the raclette ingredients and learning French

Kids love getting involved, so while they can’t participate in all the tasks, I try to make sure to find things they can do, such as washing vegetables or transferring ingredients into a bowl. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their help. You can say the following:

Thank you, my love.

Merci mon amour.

Thank you very much!

Merci beaucoup!

We started by peeling and cutting the sweet potatoes.

Mommy will remove the skin of the sweet potatoes with the peeler.

Maman va enlever la peau de la patate douce avec l’éplucheur.

Can you put the peel in the compost bin please?

Peux-tu mettre la peau dans le bac à compost?

Then, I cubed the sweet potatoes and put them to boil.

Mommy will cut the sweet potatoes in cubes.

Maman va couper les patates douces en cubes.

Mommy will cook them in boiling water now.

Maman les fera cuire dans l’eau à ébullition pendant 10 minutes.

Once ready, I drained the water and put the sweet potatoes in a bowl.

Then we moved on to the mushrooms. I filled a big bowl with water and demonstrated to Surya how to gently brush the dirt off the mushroom.

raclette with kids

We rub the mushrooms gently with the small brush.

On frotte les champignons délicatement avec la petite brosse.

Then we washed and I cut the peppers. You can take this opportunity to talk about the different colours of the peppers. Ours were red and yellow.

Mommy will julienne the peppers.

Maman va découpez les poivrons en julienne.

Can you put them in the bowl please?

Peux-tu les mettre dans le bol?

I pan-fried the mushrooms and the peppers in some olive oil, but you can choose to cook them on the raclette grill instead.

We then plated the rest of all ingredients and put them on the table, next to the raclette grill.

It’s raclette time!

raclette with kids

Operating the raclette grill is easy, but there are special precautions to take when enjoying raclette with kids. Once you plug it in and turn it on, it just takes a few minutes to heat up. You can grill vegetables and meats directly on the grill if you haven’t pre-cooked them or you can warm them up. Place a slice of cheese in the raclette dish and wait for it to bubble up.

Once ready, pour the cheese directly on top of your food.

raclette with kids

Safety: raclette with kids

  • Buy raclette cheese made with pasteurized milk to be safe
  • Pan-fry the veggies in advance so your child is not impatiently waiting for their food to get ready on the hot surface
  • Keep the raclette grill, including the chord, out of their reach
  • Let them know that the grill is very hot and to stay away
  • Tell them to ask you if they need anything else, and regularly check on them
  • Pour the cheese on for them
  • Ask them to wait a few minutes to start eating once the melted cheese is on their plate

Bon appétit!

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