Lille Aske is the cornerstone of the assortment of fresh and slightly mature chèvre style cheeses from Bos ysteri at Jæren, south west Norway. It’s about an hour’s drive east, north east from Stavanger. Bo is a Dane that by and large has turned Norwegian. By and large meaning; except for his language. He speaks Danish. Which he will continue doing for as long as he lives. Part of the charm, but sometimes difficult to understand. Bos ysteri (Bo’s dairy) where Lille Aske and the other cheeses he creates are made, is quite modest and as such proof that you don’t need all that much space to make world class cheese. The raw milk is led through pipes across the yard from the farm’s milking parlour. The farm has about 150 milking goats and Bos ysteri does not use all the milk produced at the farm, but whatever he needs for his cheese making when he needs it, is supplied.
Not just Lille Aske
It’s Lille Aske that has received the most fame, naturally as it has won a few prizes, among other things a Super Gold at World Cheese Awards in London last year. Same competition as will be held in Bergen, Norway later this year. Bos ysteri and Lille Aske will be there to compete. But not only with Lille Aske. Supervised by French Patrick Anglade, Bo is working hard on a fine selection of cheeses to bring to this year’s World Cheese Awards.
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In addition to Lille Aske, the disc shaped Fjelltopp has been around since the start. Fjelltopp means ‘mountain top’ so the name is not very descriptive. So be it. A fine cheese that one as well, even though it has been slightly overshadowed by its more famous brother. This year Snøball (snow ball) was created, ironically both with and without ash. Then a Valençay shaped pyramid. That’s probably not the end oft it. Perhaps it is Bo the confectionary that has a go with creativity. For the sake of continuity, though, it is important the two staple cheeses hangs in there.
Why has Bos ysteri had such success?
There are a few reasons for that. Winning prizes helps of course. Gives you more energy and publicity. But these prizes are not won unless the actual cheese making is top notch. Excellent work gives the best results when the raw material is at its best, as well. And the farming family at Aurenes provides some of the best goat’s milk there is in Norway. All this provides for world class cheese to made at this mini dairy.
There is, however another factor not to be forgotten. Bo’s tireless efforts to promote his cheeses. On social media as well as in “real life”. Meeting cheese mongers, chefs, the press and consumers. It all adds up the the success Bo and his cheeses have had. But bottom line, the cheese quality has to be on top, all the time.
Taste is the essence. You may try a cheese, if you don’t like it, there is no repurchase. Such is life. Bo’s cheeses has a very clean taste of milk, they’re balanced; a touch of sweetness up against the acidity. I am fascinated when cheese with a geotrichum rind is a little bit runny underneath the rind. That is Fjelltopp’s pre. Lille Aske is drier, probably because of the ash, pulling moist out of the paste.
This is a classy chèvre style cheese crying for classy chèvre wine. Sancerre.