Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gjetost - Cheese Goes to Brown Town

CD in Play: PJ Harvey, White Chalk

Gjetost is a Norwegian whey cheese more commonly known as brunost ("brown cheese") within Norway itself. People I have met are often skeptical about gjetost (an archaic spelling of geitost, which is used in Norway today) because of its brown colour. Many North Americans seem ready to accept cheddar cheese dyed orange and pale yellow for no real reason - when authentic cheddar is actually an off-white colour - but leery of cheese naturally the same colour as toffee or caramel. When people try gjetost they are usually won over by those subtly sweet caramel/toffee like notes one gets when they finally taste it.
There are two varieties of of brunost:

1. Gjetost/geitost, which simply means "goat's cheese". Obviously made from goat's milk, Geo may have second thoughts about this cheese, given her highly irrational prejudice against goat's milk.
2. Gudbrandsdalsost is a cow's milk version and therefore slightly less sharp than gjetost. (which really isn't that sharp in the first place)

Gjetost is often used to top off an open faced sandwich or with lefse. (sort of a Norwegian potato crêpe that I have had rolled in butter, sugar and maybe cinnamon) As lefse is also eaten along with lutefisk (lye-cured white fish) I imagine that gjetost is eaten with that meal as well. Geo and I are about to embark in a different direction - apple pie with gjetost just under the top of the pie crust.
See, the idea of cheddar (specifically North American cheddar) and apple pie has never turned my crank. I know people who love it and could never think of having apple pie without it. Geo was talking about making apple pie a while back and I stated that I wanted a slice. Baking is a skill that eludes me and her pies are really good. I was thinking about apple pie while eating gjetost and it hit me - gjetost and apple pie is a natural. At least I think it is and Geo seems to be of the same mind. Are we on to something or just half-baked? We make the pie today so one of us will let you know soon.

- Magnus


Geosomin said...

It's not an irrational prejudice against goats milk...I just plain don't like it. It tastes like it's off. I don't want to drink milk that is off. So I don't...
Goat's milk cheese tho - no prob.

Pie post is coming up when I get a moment...with photos...oh yes.

Magnus said...