Does anyone know what the apparatus is?
We sure didn't. Not until we visited friends from church, Len and Pauline, for lunch Sunday after the Easter services. This couple has spent many years living in Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Switzerland, where they were helping Christians develop children's ministries and doing outreach in their communities. After all those years, their family's favorite meal is raclett from Switzerland.
The machine above is a raclett machine, which melts the tangy Swiss cheese of the same name. You can see part of a wheel of the cheese in the picture. It is melted by the heating element in the black section above the cheese. The melted cheese is then scraped off onto potatoes, pickled onions and pickles and served with bread. You can read more about raclett in this Wikipedia article.
We had Riesling wine with the meal. Dessert was poached pears with a Swiss chocolate sauce and accompanied by a middle-eastern filled cookie.
The meal was followed by coffee, brewed in an espresso machine. We had our choice of several different types of coffee, each in small foil cups much like Keurig coffee but smaller and stronger.
We have eaten cheese fondue before, but this was a new experience and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal. It was matched by the great time we had learning about Len and Pauline's fascinating life. We also were impressed with the marvelous porcelain painting that Pauline does.
The lunch was an interesting and quiet way to spend the afternoon following the Saturday evening Easter Vigil and Sunday Easter worship services. The decorations at Epiphany for this feast were certainly beautiful.