Not often I wander around the City of Trondheim as it is some 500+ kilometres north of Oslo. So the occation was my mother-in-law’s aniversary, inviting the whole family for a week-end to Trondheim. She and her husband have lived much of their adult life there, but moved to metropolitan Oslo almost twenty years ago. On my way to a guided tour of the cathedral Nidarosdomen I passed through a farmer’s marked and ran across a farmstead dairy offering British style cheeses among other things.
In spite of both a cultural, geographic and tradewise close connection to the British Isles, not much cheese inspiration has crossed the North Sea. British style cheese is something we often find in the USA, especially up north east in beautiful New England. That is something hailing from the Mayflower and all the consequences that brought, but I am puzzled that our small scale dairies have seen almost no value in learning from British cheese makers. However, without claiming perfect knowledge of who has found their inspiration where, there are at least two farmstead dairies doing it the British way. Torbjørnrud – a hotel, a farm and a dairy – with their cheddar style cheese; one from cow’s milk and one from ewe’s milk, I have been ware of quite a while. The “new” dairy that I found is Hindrum gårdsysteri at Vanvikan, Fosen. Fosen being the peninsula across the fjord from Trondheim. And Trøndelag, in case you wonder, is the county.
Firm, British style cheese
Basically it is Cheddar and Cheshire style cheese, meaning they make a few other varieties as well, like a porter style Cheddar. It is the woman of the farm that is responsible for the cheese making, having been to Britain to learn the trade. If you’re going to make Cheddar style cheese you have to know the cheddaring process.
As I have said before, I have mixed feelings concerning the traditional British cheeses from my student days up in Manchester. But Britain has come a long way since the late seventies, and is a country to look to for inspiration.
Other sources as well
It is not only in Britain they have found inspiration for their cheese making, they also make a Tilsiter style cheese, a Jack style and a Feta style. If you’re not familiar with the Jack style, that’s an American cheese; Monterey Jack.
Basically I think both Cheddar and Cheshire have their prime use as melted cheese. On toasts for instance, with a sprinkle of ground paprika, if you like. Apart from that, Cheddar is probably the most frequently used cheese for cheese burgers. That said, both Cheddar and Cheshire are obvious ingredients, not necessarily both together, in the arch British Ploughman’s lunch.
With all due respect, a good cup of tea served your favorite way works best along a cheese toast. For the Ploughman’s I would choose a Bitter. Not very common in Norway and probably nowhere else outside Britain either, but neither is the Ploughman’s lunch. So save this for your next trip to the Kingdom. A very typical pub grub this, by the way.