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Gjeitost. Are there any other lovers of the frukost bord out there?

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Gjeitost (brown goat cheese) is the "peanut butter" of Norway. Unless one is a Norsk-a-phile, I can't imagine how one would use it. Generally on Sundays we have a frukost bord (breakfast table) w/ herrings, bread, Wassa flat breads, meats, cheeses, and sliced cuke, peppers and tomato to make small open faced sandwiches. The very first item we eat is a Wassa w/ butter, gjeitost and slices of hot hard boiled egg. The combination is very satisfying. Are there any other Hounds that indulge? Those who do not understand gjeitost and hate it need not apply.

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  1. Count me in. I love its creamy, almost caramel taste. Perfect with sliced Granny Smith apples.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scoopG

      Sounds good. In Norway they make special lunch boxes w/ slide out drawers, each one holds gjeitost on flat bread.

    2. Oh yes, another gjetost lover here, too. My Norwegian father has lived with us the past six years up until very recently so we make sure to have Wassa, Kavli, and hearty bread at all times to go with gjetost. The Ski Queen stuff is okay and will do for every day eating, but I try to get to a good Scandinavian import store regularly to get the really good stuff.

      I am not sure I would be a gjetost lover just for the sake of the flavor as I like my cheeses sharp, salty, and strong. It is a very nostalgic thing for me--more of a comfort food. When in Norway, the frukost bords we experienced almost always included a white cheese as well, along with all the items you mentioned above. Jarlsberg is probably the closest cheese I have found to what we eat there.

      Now that we aren't able to care for my dad at home any longer, I keep him happy with regular trips to Ballard and I supply his caregivers with gjetost, Kavli crackers, black licorice and split pea soup. Next up: I am going to learn how to make lefse the way my grandmother and aunts made it. That is truly a labor of love as I have never enjoyed eating lefse.

      8 Replies
      1. re: jlhinwa

        Brunost, and yes Jarls berg too. I moved to Norway from Albuquerque and tried to make enchiladas w/ lefse and the "tortilla". An abject failure. We used to have 2 Skandanavian specialiity shops locally in Maine, now I have to drive 2 1/2 hrs down to Portland or order by mail.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          That's funny about the enchiladas with lefse. When visiting family, we have cooked for them on various occasions. It was truly disheartening to try to find any kind of Mexican food items, even in a relatively big city (Stavanger). My cousins still talk about the "Mexikansk mat" that my husband and I made for them. We made tacos with very mild seasons (couldn't have made it spicy if we had tried...no ingredients!). You would have thought we used habaneros from the way they sputtered.

          Have you ever made lefse? And do you prefer potato or nordlands? I just cannot get myself to enjoy the potato lefse, but that is what my family considers real lefse. I like the sweeter stuff, with chocolate icing.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            I lived in Stavanger, for 5 years, my eldest was born there and I still speak pretty good Norwegian. No I've never made lefse, but do make other Norwegian foods.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Stavanger is beautiful though not much of a culinary hotspot, at least the last time I was there. My father is from just south of there. I used to speak pretty well when drinking, not so confident when sober, though I understand it quite well still.

              I am trying lefse this year since my mom has given up any kind of cooking or baking. Someone has to carry on the traditions, right?! As long as it isn't frukt suppe...that I cannot abide.

              1. re: jlhinwa

                I used to make nyppe (rose hip) wine. I lived on a city island, Vassoy, and had a gill net. We lived on a lot of seafood, lamb and reindeer.
                Did you try gammel ost, the really stinky stuff?
                ps We were just camping at Dead horse Ranch St. Pk.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Hello again...just back from a few days in Santa Fe. That was a lovely town for eating!

                  I never tried gammel ost when presented with the opportunity in the past. I am now somewhat regretful about that because I believe that a food that elicits such strong responses, pro or con (mostly con, as far as I have heard) warrants a good try.

                  I don't know that I will go out of my way to purchase it for myself as I am sure no one else in the house except possibly my daughter will try it. But I definitely am going to try it given the opportunity in the future. What about you? Have you tried it and what did you think?

                  1. re: jlhinwa

                    I like gammel ost, i like strong flavors, like the red chile enchiladas at the Shed in Sante Fe. From August to June, we live 2 hrs from Sante Fe, a fine eating town.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Oh my gosh, I am envious! I had never been to Santa Fe before this trip and I absolutely fell in love with everything about it. The hard part was selecting where to eat dinner at our one night on our own (we were there for a business conference). The Shed was on the list to check out but we ended up at Restaurant Martin, which was amazing. We had two nights of private catered dinners which were quite good and then breakfast and lunches at the hotel but we ended up going out and eating around town a bit.

                      I spent last night in the ER with my 90-year-old dad, so decided to pass the time quizzing him about Norwegian food. (Better than hearing "I have to pee" every five minutes!) He said he liked the flavor of gammel ost but found the strong odor to be a deterrent to eating it, and he thought that was the main reason it got such bad press. So I definitely am going to have to try it now.

                      We also discussed lytefisk and I couldn't get anything concrete out of him other than pure disgust. I'll have to do some more research (non-consumptive) before trying that one out.

      2. Have never been to Norway - it's on the list. But friends years ago went and discovered it there. jlhinwa, where is Ballard? Did not realize there were different kinds!

        1 Reply
        1. re: scoopG

          Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle, highly populated by Scandinavians back in the day and there were several Scandinavian restaurants and specialty stores. Now it is a melting pot of many cultures with a vibrant restaurant scene, but not so many Scandinavian ones any more. There is one Scandinavian specialty store left that has all the traditionally loved food items as well as other imports (authentic wooden clogs, rosmaling items, pewter, etc.). We live in Federal Way, about 25-30 miles south and it is worth the trip to stock up on our favorites!

        2. While I haven't had it in many years, I did love it as a child (along with all other cheeses for that matter). Would just eat it plain.

          1. An essential ingredient along with lefse, strawberries and tea to sit around and gossip all day.

            Good stuff, though I've never thought about eating it in a savory application.

            1. Yes, love the taste and texture. It's a bit like like dulce de leche cheese! So far have only been able to buy it at Wholefoods though.

              3 Replies
              1. re: plantainchips

                Search further for brun ost.

                1. re: plantainchips

                  I've been able to buy it in the Twin Cities and at the Food Emporium in NYC. Have not seen it in Delaware. Not sure where else in the USA it is...

                  1. re: scoopG

                    I can get it in the real Portland (Me.) or mail order.
                    You're in NYC, there's a Norwegian specialty store in Brooklyn.

                2. l am a fan. Used to have a customer who asked for the 'Fells-Naptha' soap when he meant Gjeitost.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    I'm surprised, a very special niche and very specific use. Ever try gammel ost?

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Had gammelost many times, almost impossible to find in States. Quite strong, which is why l like it.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I really like Gammel Ost, and all of the stinkiest cheeses that Norway and Denmark have to offer. I am just not that wild about Gjeitost. I guess the sweetness is what I dislike.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          Or perhaps the manner in which gjeitost is eaten. It is not meant to be eaten alone like many other cheeses.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            Love the stuff. Had it on a cheese board at (I believe) Bailey's Chocolate Bar here in St. Louis and subsequently found it at Jay International Market. I always have it in the fridge, now. We usually have it as a part of a cheese/crispbread/apples/soup dinner (best dinner in the world when the weather turns cold), or just on toasted bread for a snack. I have yet to meet many cheeses I don't care for, although 'swiss' cheese doesn't do much for me.

                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                          I would love for someone who has eaten gammel ost to describe the flavor, if possible. Is there anything you could compare it to? I may have to rethink my idea about not purchasing it for home eating. I am sure my dad will be asking for another trip to Ballard very soon so will have the opportunity to purchase.

                      2. Do remember, there are currently 2 Gjeitost's sold in USA. Ski Queen in the red wrapper is a cow/goat mix and, IMO Ekte in a blue and beige wrapper is all goat and way better.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          The Ekte (Which in Norwegian means "real".) is the type I get in Portland, Me. I watched ekte gjeitost being made on a farm high in the mountains of Norway. Ninety-six per cent of Norway is mountainous.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            Norway also has more tunnels per kilometer of roadway than any other country, I heard.

                            1. re: Tripeler

                              Tunnels are replacing ferry boast.

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                Having driven many of them, I would absolutely believe that statistic. Road construction and maintenance is one of the reason their tax infrastucture is so expensive.

                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                  On third of the budget deals w/ winter and 96% mountains doesn't help either.

                            2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Yes, Ekte Gjetost is much better and preferred by my relatives.

                              Have you tried flotemysost? It is similar in color/texture to gjetost but I believe it is made from cow's milk. It is quite creamy and another family favorite.

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                Sounds like it would really Float My Sost!

                                1. re: Tripeler

                                  Good one! And yes, if you like gjetost then it most likely would float your sost!!!

                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                  Flote means cream in Norwegian.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Yes, and it makes perfect sense...it is creamy and dreamy. Mmmm. Can you tell I am getting nostalgic again? Next trip to Ballard is scheduled for a week from tomorrow. Gammelost and floytemysost are going to be on the list!

                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      Do you live in NYC or Seattle? There is a good Norwegian provision store in Brooklyn. Imagine a lot of Ole Nordmen in Seattle. The Stavanger Int'l School was designed by architects in Bellingham, Wa., because the climate is so similar to west coast Norway.

                                      What's Ballard's?

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I live just south of Seattle. Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle that used to be highly populated by Scandinavian immigrants. Its main retail street used to be a haven of Scandinavian food, gift and other shops as well as cafes and restaurants.

                                        It is also summer home to fishing boats that work in Alaska, including several of the Deadliest Catch boats.

                                        The neighborhood is now very multi-cultural and younger in demographic, which is a great thing for the area. A little sad for the traditional old Norwegians who just want a great place to go and feel like we are in Norway (or Sweden, or Denmark) for a couple of hours.

                                        Interesting about the Stavanger school. That makes total sense to me as I have often thought the climate here (Seattle area) is very similar to the SW coast of Norway. They don't seem to experience a lot of high temps or really low temps in winter, and lots of damp, gray, and drizzle.

                              2. I love the taste of gjeitost - on Wasa Bread or Ry-Krisp, with thinly sliced fruit or some thin salty ham. I used to be jealous, growing up in a fishing village where a spread like that was normal for many in the a.m., if not an even bigger, more elaborate smorgasboard; so different from my oatmeal-in-the-a.m.'s household. Used to love overnight sleep dates, especially with my Danish, German and Russian-extract friends. Just to get to breakfast. Most boring were the nights spent over at the homes of other kids whose parents were pretty much like mine; transplanted midwesterners to whom such a breakfast would've been unbearably ethnic and old-fashioned.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: mamachef

                                  A bunch of us would meet every Friday, in Stavanger, at the SAS Hotel, for an all-you-can-eat frukost board; a big dispaly of Norwegian foods for breakfast. They had 10 different kinds of herring, ekte gjeitost and gammel ost. My midwest collegues would say "Dumkeg, how can you eat raw fish for breakfast?" Dumkeg would reply, "How can you come 10000 miles and eat Corn Flakes for breakfast?"
                                  Hmm Jeg tror at jeg skall spese litt sild i dill saus no.
                                  Hmm, I think I shall eat a little herring in dill sauce now.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Oh my gosh, I have eaten at the SAS Hotel in Stavanger. Your descriptions are making me very nostalgic for a visit.

                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      Me too, my eldest son was born in Stavanger. I take gjeitost to Seoul for him when I visit and many more cheeses. Korea ain't a cheese hot spot.

                                2. LOVE it.

                                  1. I haven't had it in years. Decades, probably. My mother was from a Norwegian family and when we would visit them in my childhood we would always go home with a foil-wrapped rectangle of gjetost. I would nibble on it as if it were a sort of dessert. It kind of makes me think of quince and guava pastes from Mexico. Maybe they would go well together. I see it occasionally, and now I will have to buy some next time and try that.

                                    1. My father-in-law, a true Cheesehound, introduced me to gjetost. Definitely an acquired taste, but better if sliced very thin.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: DonShirer

                                        The Norwegians have a special little tool, the ost hovel for slicing cheese thin.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          I always thought that the osthovel was the same thing as a cheese slicer. I had no idea that most kitchens do not have them as all the kitchens I spent time in had at least a couple. I was well into my adult cooking years before I realized that it was not a commonplace American kitchen tool. That is the only thing I use for slicing cheese...not just gjeitost.

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            I had to look up osthovel on the web before I realized I already have one--but the kitchen store that sold it just called it a cheese slicer!

                                            1. re: DonShirer

                                              Yep, to me it is just a cheese slicer too, and the very best kind!

                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                Here's a link to Bjorklund (birch bay) osthovels and paraphenalia.


                                          2. Interestingly, I was just at a lecture on the history and making of cheese. The lecturer was Lisbeth Goddik, a Dane who is a professor in the dairy dept at Oregon State. Gjetost was mentioned and she pointed out that it is made, not from milk, but from whey. That's why it's so caramelly; it has a high percentage of lactose, and when you cook sugar, indeed, you get caramel. It was a superb presentation.

                                            1. I love it! So good on grilled cheese! So good with fruit! SOOOOO GOOOD!

                                              1. After you mentioning the gjeitost board, and obsessing about it for about two weeks, I'm actually on my way shortly to the Cheeseboard for not only a pizza but a bunch of assorted cheeses. :)