A couple of weeks ago I shared a recipe that included Halloumi Cheese. I was so happy to hear that some of my friends and followers tried it for the first time and loved it. I knew I had to talk about this cheese next because unless you’ve heard of it, tasted it, or have been to Norway – you most likely walk by this humble little square cheese wrapped in red paper. I used to do that too. It just looks so different from all other cheeses. And guess what? It totally is! Its history is fascinating, its texture is like peanut butter, and it’s flavor is somewhere between fudge and caramel.
Let’s take a quick look into its amazing history.
As with many other cheeses, Gjetost came to be out of necessity. It comes from Norway and it used to have a completely different form – a spread. That is, until one – rather, ingenious – move by Anne Hov, who decided to add cream to it (and later, goat’s milk) and cook it down, thus creating this fudgy, caramely, peanut butter like miracle.
Not only did it taste great, but its popularity helped the region through the poverty of 1870-80, making this cheese a gastronomical and cultural heritage and a national favorite.
In 1933 Anne Hov was awarded The King’s medal of Merit by the Norwegian government for creating the cheese which now also serves as a snack for Norwegian skiers.
For a ridiculously fun and delicious pairing, try a slice of this cheese with a bone-dry cider. It tastes nothing less than a caramel dipped apple! Super dry, Alsatian Riesling will serve just as well. Basically, anything with a lot of acidity will work wonders cutting through this cheese’s thick, creamy texture. But dry, traditional cider will always be my favorite!
This cheese also serves as a peanut butter substitute on a PB & J sandwich. I put a generous amount of Gjetost slices on toast and then popped it into the oven for a couple of minutes to soften the cheese. Then, I topped it with quick, freshly-made blueberry jam and fresh thyme. It’s taste is a little milder than peanut butter but has a little more salt to it so it works really well with sweet toppings like jam.
I hope this insight into this product will encourage you to give it a shot sometime!