Number 74: Gjetost, or Brunost

5 Oct

Okay, take a quick glance at the food above and tell me what you think it is.  Fudge?  Caramel?  Chocolate?  What you are looking at, my friends, is cheese.  Freaky, freaky Norwegian cheese.  This is by far one of the most confusing things I have ever eaten in my entire life, and trying to find it was no walk in the park, either.

The cheesemonger (or is it cheesemongress for a woman?) in St. Andrews where I bought my epoisses didn’t have any, but she did have some words of advice for me: “Try before you buy!”  She made it very clear to me that gjetost is WEIRD and not to everyone’s taste.

After continual searching, I finally managed to find it at Harrods, the largest department store in the UK.  I happened to look down at the cheese case in front of me and found a little, odd-looking, orangey-brown square staring back up at me.  I bought a hefty chunk of it and was on my way.

Gjetost is a hard cheese, similar in hardness to cheddar, perhaps, and trying to spread it on my cracker only resulted in a broken cracker.  The taste was so confusing that I think I had 3 full crackers coated with the stuff before I could even come to any conclusion.  It tasted like caramel-flavored cheese (which is actually pretty much exactly what it is- the boiled milk sugar in it turns to caramel) but with a sharp, not sweet, aftertaste.  My friend, Vicki, and I weren’t crazy about it, but I was more focused on how baffling it was than what it tasted like.

The next day, Vicki brought the remnants to work as a kind of culinary challenge.  Who could figure out what it was?  Most people thought it was fudge, one person thought it was some kind of hardened tea (?), and, finally, someone guessed that it was cheese.  I’m pretty sure it’s not normal to EVER think that cheese is fudge or tea…but that just tells you how strange this cheese was.

This is another one of those foods that makes me think “how and why was this invented?”  Crazy Scandinavians.  As for the taste, I didn’t have any strong feelings either way.  I had a few crackerfuls and they were fine, but I didn’t have any desire to eat more of ’em.  Dan and Vicki’s boyfriend were crazy about the stuff, though.  Maybe caramel-flavored cheese is a guy thing…


2 Responses to “Number 74: Gjetost, or Brunost”

  1. Laura in Cancun October 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Yeah I definitely saw it and thought caramel

  2. IntenseGuy October 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    I thought it was dried out peanut butter.

    Some cheeses are really… well… weird!

    Lots of good ones – and lots of … well … more for everyone else!

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