May 23rd, 2009

Vacant Podling

Gjetost

I bought some Norwegian cheese for a game this afternoon, and I think it may have been a big mistake…

I went to a maths conference in Norway back in the mid 90s, and remember having some slices of some sort of brown cheese (yes, brown) for breakfast. For a cheese, it was unusual – it was sweet, with a caramelly flavour – but very nice.

Oh, but I think I must have been fed the wimpy tourist version!

I saw some Norwegian Gjetost [Wikipedia] for sale in town this morning and thought, “Ooh, never seen that in the UK, we’ll have some of that!” Having got home I tried a sliver.

It really was a thin slice, but I can still taste it, and in this case that’s not a good thing. Imagine a block of processed cheese for the slightly plasticky impression when cutting it; a sliver comes off without crumbling or squishing. The mouth feel is a bit like fudge, smooth, soft and a bit cloying. The flavour – a strong, savoury caramel that’s an odd mixture of salt and sweet.

I’ve had a quick look online to see how it’s usually eaten, and the trick seems to be to take it in small quantities with another strong flavour – apples, coffee, or strong sausage. Looks like using it on a pizza is also an option. As all of these are available, we’ll see how it goes, but I fear it isn’t going to be a hit.

Apparently gjetost (literally “goat cheese”) is a particular type of brunost (brown cheese). It’s a mixture of leftover whey of cow’s and goat’s milk, or just goat’s milk, that’s boiled until the lactose caramelises – so the caramel element of the flavour is explained.

I expect the local Anster cheese and the Prima Donna Maturo are a bit more accessible. I suspect I may find myself looking for a way to get rid of the gjetost.