Friday, February 10, 2006


I happen to be full bloodied Norwegian, though I was born and raised in the United States and have never been to Norway. So, being under the bodily concept as much as I am, recent events have made me curious about what Made in Norway products I could buy. I have been more or less a failure as a consumer, so I had to do a little research. About the only thing I really checked was foods, as I don't feel any need to be accumulating things, but I do still eat regularly.

I came across gjetost, a Norwegian cheese made from goat whey. Technically, it is not a cheese, as it uses no rennet, but it looks like cheese and is used similarly. A variation is also made from cow's whey. After separating the curds from the whey, the whey is put over a heat source and boiled down until the solids carmelize. Another variation is to add some cream to it, which produces the Ski Queen variety of gjetost. This extended cooking was an obvious thing to do when you were going through the long Norge winters and heating with wood, the fire was there anyway. It takes several hours to cook down whey.

It is eaten cut into very thin slices, traditionally on a rye crisp bread. As gjetost is an unpipened cheese, it keeps well and was used by the Vikings on their long sea voyages. I remember trying it once a long time ago, but was unaware of how it was produced, and that was back in the day when rennet was still made from a calf's fourth stomach. Since I wasn't sure if it was made with rennet, I never looked for it again. Since about 1990, animal rennet is not economical for commercial cheesemakers to use, and is even becoming hard to find. Some artisan cheeses, especially from France, still use it.

Article on gjetost.


At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Sky Bear said...

Gosh, where can I get the brown Norwegian "cheese"? I was surprised to see the picture. It looks just like the stuff that I had to cut up at 6:30 am on a Norwegion tanker in the 50's. I was a messengoot or messboy!
Really interested if it has no renet!

Sky Bear

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Madhava Gosh said...

I am sure it is the same. It can be bought off the internet, easy to locate with a simple Google search, but then shipping costs can be significant. I rarely get out to shop but I am sure someone has it. I was at the Co-op in Morgantwon this morning and checked their cheeses but they seemed to only have Heinies.

I am hoping the Kroger on Mt Dechantal Rd will have it, otherwise it means a trip to Pittsburgh, I would be surprised if that big cheese store in the Strip District didn't have it. I hardly ever go tp Pittsburgh go there so I forgetten the name of it.

I wsa hoping if someone was going they could check it out for me.


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