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 . . .