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The salt crystals in firm cheeses, what are they?

I suppose you have had firm cheeses, being it alpine varieties or Parmigiano Reggiano and felt the crunch when you chew them. From the questions I am asked from time to time it seems like most of you think they are salt crystals. A most likely assumption, actually. If you look at the cheese, the white spots that oftentimes are so characteristic for this type of cheese might very well lead you to conclude they are salt crystals. Cheese as such is salty as well. But, whatever it is, it feels good and is most charming. Most will probably characterise it as a sign of quality. But this charming crunchy feel between your teeth, is it really salt crystals? Like the flake salt you put on your table?

salt crystals
American Pleasant Ridge Reserve – Extra Aged, showing clear signs of crystals.

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Lactobacillus Helveticus – threatening artisanal firm cheeses?

Poor Lactobacillus Helveticus, what wrong has it done? Nothing really, it’s a lactic bacteria along many others. The thing is, as it often is in this world, too much of it turns out bad. Too little is not relevant in this connection. During cheese making of some cheese styles, like alpine for instance, moderate amounts of this lactic bacteria is included in the starter culture used for making this style of cheese. That’s how it is, that’s how it’s been. It is the Lactobacillus Helveticus that provide the sweet, nutty taste that alpine cheeses are so famous for, especially some of the Swiss ones. For other cheeses this lactic bacteria is not present at all or just plays a minor role. So why is the Lactobaillus helveticus a potential dager to small scale artisanal firm cheeses?

Lactobacillus Helveticus – threatening artisanal firm cheeses? Read More »

Raw milk cheese in the grocery stores

The representation of raw milk cheese in grocery stores is a very Norwegian issue. I’ve performed sort of a status check locally, knowing the Oslo area is different from the rest of the country, probably. Grocery stores in this context means supermarkets. If you’re hunting cheese from raw milk, the discount stores, representing some 60 per cent of the grocery market, is a meager place to look. Of course, there is always a pre-packed Parmigiano Reggiano. Even a Grana Padano in some of the stores if they need a somewhat cheaper variety.

raw milk cheese
Local raw milk cheese all of this – in Portugal.

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Galopin – New kid on the Block

Galopin – new kid on the block? No not really, they’ve been around for a while, under an other name and management. They used to be Ma Poule in Norway, at the Oslo Food hall, but they had to close down, and Galopin has arisen as a phoenix from whatever remained after Ma Poule. A scaled down concept, these days, which I think is more well suited to the market it is supposed to serve. However things were, I appreciated their presence giving more variety to the Oslo cheese scene. A bit of charcuterie as well. C’est tout.

galopin
“New” cheese shop at the Oslo Food hall.

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