Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brunost, Ekte Gjetost, and Gamalost - the Cheese with Personality

"Brown Cheese And Birch: Nordic Foods' Appeal Grows"
J. S. MARCUS, Food & Drink, The Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2011)

"The bright-orange sea-buckthorn berry may sound like something from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. In fact, it's one of Scandinavian cuisine's star ingredients, which are driving adventurous foodies to forage in cutting-edge restaurants, Pacific-Northwest wine bars, local health-food stores and IKEA outlets.

" 'I love the boom,' says Marcus Samuelsson, the Swedish-raised New York chef who helped pioneer awareness of Scandinavian cuisine in the U.S. when he was executive chef at Aquavit, which he co-owns.

"Mr. Samuelsson uses aromatic cloudberries-'the king of berries,' he calls them—in sorbet and serves the sour sea-buckthorn berries with game meats. He sometimes spikes a sauce with Norwegian brunost, a sweet brown cheese traditionally made from caramelized goat's milk whey. "It's like goat-cheese butter," Mr. Samuelsson says...."

Brunost is okay - more than just okay - but the Lemming wonder's if what's sold in the Pacific Northwest is, quite, Brunost. At least one sort of Norwegian goat cheese, packaged for export to the United States, turned out to be diluted - 50% goat cheese, 50% the sort of bovine cheese most Americans are used to.

Sure, it tasted sort of like a half-strength gjetost, which it was - but it wasn't gjetost. Somewhat of an anticlimax for the Lemming, who remembers real gjetost. And Primost.

This, perhaps, really is ekte gjetost - real gjetost:

"Ekte Gjetost 100% Goat Cheese"

"Ekte Gjetost means pure goat cheese in Norwegian. Ekte Gjetost is a unique Norwegian whey cheese made from 100% goat's whey, its colour is darker than Ski Queen's and the flavour richer. Its texture is firm and it is served in thin slices on bread or biscuits...."

"Ekte Gjetost means pure goat cheese in Norwegian"?? Oh-kay. Sort of. The Lemming would have thought it was more like "real goat cheese" - but what the hey: "Pure" is sort of like "real." And the Lemming would expect ekte gjetost to be 'real' gjetost - not half-and-half.

So, there's brunost, and gjetost - ekte and otherwise. But why is there such a thundering silence on the subject of gamalost? Sure, it's got an aroma you'll never forget: and Wikipedia says it's "a brownish-yellow cheese with irregular blue veins."

But what's a little body odor and a complexion issue to someone who's into cheesy food?

The Lemming could have phrased that differently. Probably should have.

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david said...

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Brian Gill said...


Thanks: Thinking about cheese was one outcome I hadn't quite expected.

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