Monday, July 25, 2011

How I learned to love brown cheese


It's been a standing joke for a while between me and my friend Norwegian-born author and blogger Signe Johansen of Scandilicious that I Don't Do Brown Cheese. She has constantly maintained it's delicious while I - on the strength of tasting it some 25 years ago - felt equally strongly that it was an abomination. Or I did until last Thursday when I finally got round to tasting the real thing - Ekte Geitost.

It comes in a drum and you slice off slices with a Scandi-style cheese slicer - either to top crispbread or to melt into a sauce as she did with the meatball gravy she served at her pop-up supper.

It taste not like soap, as I remembered, but more like salted caramel or the Mexican goats milk caramel, cajeta. In other words, delicious though I'm not sure I would go as far as to top it with lingonberry jam as Sig does, a peanut butter and jelly-ish combo that obviously appeals more to Norwegians than it does to me. There's a heart-tugging advertisement for it here on YouTube which somehow seems especially poignant after the tragic loss of all those young lives over the weekend.

Anyway I take back all the sneery things I've said about it over the years. To dismiss it out of hand is like saying that cheddar is rubbish on the basis of tasting Kraft cheese slices. Sure it's not hugely cheesy but then nor is mascarpone or even some of those triple cream cheeses. It's different. And it's good.

I'm going to buy some next time I'm in London (they sell it at the Scandinavian Kitchen in Great Titchfield Street) and experiment with it, starting with brown cheese and bacon baked potatoes which I reckon would be terrific made with sweet potatoes. You heard it here first . . .

10 comments:

Sarah Peetegree said...

Oh, alright, I'll try again...

*Shuffles off to fridge*

;)

Sig said...

Hurrah! And about time too Fiona, brown cheese is amazing :)

Fiona Beckett said...

You've got some in your fridge already, Sarah? What have you been doing with it?

And Sig, OK, you won. Now to see which one of us perfects the brown cheese baked potatoes first!

Kavey said...

I tried some recently, having found it in the food deli section at a garden centre, of all places.

And looooved it.

It was awfully expensive so will need to find me a less eye-watering source but definitely going to have it again.

chloe said...

I adore it thinly sliced on Peters Yard crispbread. I'm regularly having to top up my supply at the lovely Scandikitchen. In fact, could do with some more now you've reminded me....

Ellie said...

I used to work in a deli in Bristol that sold Ekte Geitost. I don't think I could ever learn to love it, I'm pretty sure it's one of the worst things I've ever eaten! Although quite a few people would come in and rave about it.

Fiona Beckett said...

I used to feel EXACTLY that way Ellie but tasting it again (after goodness knows how many years) I saw it in quite a different light. Maybe we've just got used to different tastes like salted caramel. And it's very umami.

Plumbing said...

Wow. Its my first time to see a brown cheese. Thanks for posting this.

Nicoletta said...

Never heard before and tried brown cheese.... I'm so curious now!!! Your blog is great...I'm so glad I found you!!!

Shu Han said...

never seen brown cheese before, let alone tried them. fascinating.