Handel’s ‘Messiah’? Nope, Handl’s cheese macaroni

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Handel’s ‘Messiah’? Nope, Handl’s cheese macaroni


Marc Handl, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Seoul Provided by Ritz-Carlton Seoul

Each family has its own Christmas recipe, oftentimes handed down from generation to generation.For some it could be a butter cake that kindles fond memories of Christmases past. For others it might be homemade cinnamon rolls left by the fireplace fors Santa.

For Marc Handl, general manager of Ritz-Carlton Seoul, it is cheese macaroni.

“My family tradition on Christmas Eve is Appenzeller cheese macaroni. Appenzell is my father’s hometown in Switzerland. A small farming town, famous for its cheese,” says Handl, worked for the Grand Hyatt Seoul for three years before moving to the Ritz-Carlton four months ago.

His family’s recipe differs from other macaroni and cheese dishes because it uses Appenzeller, which has a smooth texture and spicy taste.

“The more the cheese is aged, the stronger the aroma and sharper the flavors, which makes it even better for this macaroni dish,” he says.

Since Appenzeller cheese has a unique strong smell, the food always takes Handl back to his childhood days.

“The smell brings back memories of my family gathered in the kitchen in anticipation of the dish coming out of the oven,” he says. “We used to eat the dish with roast ham or roast beef. And of course a nice bottle of wine.”

Currently, Appenzeller cheese is available in some department stores in Seoul. Following is the Handl family’s recipe.


Christmas cheese macaroni made with Appenzeller cheese. Provided by Marc Handl

Appenzeller cheese macaroni

Ingredients: Appenzeller cheese (the more the better because the dish needs to be very cheesy), macaroni, potatoes (optional), onions (enough to layer on top of the macaroni) and one stick of butter.

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin chip-like pieces. Parboil in salted water.

2. Add macaroni to the same boiling, salted water and cook them al dente.

3.Turn the potatoes and macaroni into a strainer and drain well.

4. Evenly layer grated Appenzeller cheese and macaroni and potato in an oven-safe pan or dish.

5. Chop the onion coarsely and fry until golden or dark brown in butter on low heat. Caramelize slowly.

6. Pour the fried onion over the macaroni. Cover with foil and put in a hot oven to allow the cheese to completely melt. The dish should be served very hot.

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]
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