Beaufort. I put a piece in our fridge and I am actually amazed it’s still there. Respect perhaps. Beaufort is probably the best alpine cheese there is, so you don’t grab it from the fridge just like that. Not a bad word about other French alpine cheeses, or Swiss or Italian for that sake, they’re all good, but Beaufort is special.
Finn, strange name for a cheese? Could be, but I found it at Paxton and Whitfield, nicely wrapped. Unknown for me as it was, I could of course not resist it. I was allowed a taste, which applied to all the cheeses I shopped there. As it is, Finn is a small English cheese in a Camembert tradition. In short that means; cow’s milk, bloomy rind. Raw milk of course.
Our son has been to Munich with his school class and one of the activities while there was a visit to a bio dynamic, all purpose farm. On site there also was a farmers’ market, so he naturally went over to see if there was any cheese gems (OstePerler) for dad. He landed on a Belgian bloomy rind cheese called Le Léger de Lathuy. An exciting choice since I have no “relation” to Belgian cheese other than those coming from the area around the town of Herve. Stinkers as they are, not everyone find them as attractive as I do. Even though we’re talking about quite a different style of cheese this Le Léger de Lathuy may also be regarded as, if not special, very odd.
Most countries have some indigenous cheeses, in Britain they are called territorials and they probably represent the style of cheese you associate with Britain in general and England specifically. They have gained the term “territorial” because they are named after the area they come from, or in some instances the area they originally came from. Firm, crumbly with a certain acidity and excellent for making cheese toasts. Some of them quite pale, as Brits in general, no offense, while others have annatto added to liven them up a bit. They are generally underestimated, specially by me for the last forty years, during which I have hardly tasted them. There is a story behind that. But now, British territorials re-tasted.
Raw or unpasteurized, that’s really the question. Every now and then it creates some fuzziness when I talk about raw milk rather than unpasteurized milk. I try to be consequent in using the noun raw milk, but by all means you will sure find unpasteurized used somewhere in here. I will try to explain the difference and why I prefer to call it raw milk. I must admit, though I think this is a Norwegian thing, people getting confused by the difference. Raw milk in Norwegian is “rå melk”, (almost the same) but we have a word raw milk in one word; “råmelk” which means Colostrum. That’s the reason why I think most Norwegians describe raw milk or cheese as unpasteurized. And when the general public describe something as from raw milk they usually use the wrong word; i.e. colostrum. Enough of that. In case you’re not quite into Colostrum, it is the first milk a mammal has after having given birth. Cows, goats and humans alike.
Way up the Aosta valley in north western Italy you’ll find the the original area where the cheese Fontina hails from. The best Fontina is still made there during some short summer months and is called Alpeggio. This is important because it identifies the cheese as a real mountain cheese, small scale made, as Fontina may be produced industrially elsewhere as well. The latter is “just another cheese”. But, almost as far as you can get up the Aosta valley, by the foothills of Mont Blanc, happy cows are grazing fresh grass and herbs during the summer months, providing the raw milk that goes into the cheese. Early fall it is time for the transhumance to the lowlands where their return is duly celebrated.
This has got to be the smallest deli in Oslo, even the smallest shop altogether. Above the entrance there is a sign telling GOD, which you may interpret the way you want, in Norwegian god means good. The explanation is however clearly outlined right beneath. There is something WYSIWYG over this shop. Or rather what you see is what there is. No backroom, no basement. A cooler, shelves, a work bench with some cupboards underneath and a sink. That’s it.