Swedish recipes for Västerbottensost with Bronte from Scandi Kitchen:
My first encounter with the impossible to pronounce and even more impossible to spell Västerbottensost cheese was a few weeks ago at Kupp. My dining companion was very keen to order the cheese platter because it focused on this unique Swedish cheese and I wasn’t in the least disappointed with his choice. But, I had no idea what made the cheese special, so was quite excited to be invited just a few days later to a cookery event hosted by Västerbottensost.
Needless to say, there’s a legend attached to this cheese, known as the King of Cheeses in Sweden. Created by chance in 1872, dairy maid Eleonora Lindstrom was distracted by her lover and kept forgetting to keep the fire burning under the curd of a traditional Swedish cheese she was meant to be making. Each time the fire went out, the curd cooled. Each time it had to be reheated. What resulted was unorthodox and initially regarded as inedible. Put to one side on a shelf, it matured for 12 months – and by chance was tested. The taste and texture was astonishing and Eleanora’s haphazard ‘method’ was replicated to create Västerbottensost.
A cheese which is totally dependent on terroir, the unique flavour may come from the local spruce used to rest the wheels, from the influence of the midnight sun on vegetation and cows or on the soil in Burtrask
Our mission was to try a few authentic Scandinavian recipes that used Västerbottensost, guided by the very talented Bronte from Scandi Kitchen. I don’t seem to have been doing very much cooking recently and I have to admit to feeling a little out of my depth with fellow bloggers Karen from Lavender & Lovage and Kirsten from Miss Marmite Lover on either side of me. Initially there were no printed recipes…
‘Just make a short crust pastry’ said Bronte.
OK, I DO know how to make short-crust pastry, but I always check the ratios before I start because otherwise I am quite likely to end up with scone mix or the world’s flattest puff pastry. I just don’t cook regularly enough to remember!
Eventually Kirsten took over pastry and flan making duties while I focussed on the much simpler task of mushing up ingredients to make meat balls.
We ended up with a veritable cheese-fest. And some Scandi meatballs which we enjoyed with cheesy mash. Västerbottensost is a great, slightly nutty, slighty salty hard cheese that is equally good to nibble with a glass of wine or to cook with.
I loved all the recipes, but since the sun has finally decided to show its face, the one I’m sharing with you today is for raw courgette salad with Västerbottensost
- 2 Medium Courgettes
- 1 bunch Rocket
- 50 g Västerbottensost Shaved using a flat cheese slice
- 50 g Flaked Almonds
- 1 tablespoon Wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Good Quality Olive Oil
- Salt and White pepper
- Gently toast the almond flakes
- Shave the courgettes into long ribbons using a cheese slicer or potato peeler
- Mix the leaves and courgettes in a large bowl, then add the cheese
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together. I usually do this in a screw top jar, but if you prefer you can whisk. Any surplus dressing will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Dress the salad and mix well with your hands
- At the last minute mix in the toasted almonds to ensure they stay crispy
So now all you need to do is get yourself a big hunk of Västerbottensost to keep in the fridge…you’ll find it for sale at Waitrose, Ocado and Selfridges, priced at approximately £19.90 per kilogram.
Disclaimer: I was invited to a cookery event by Västerbottensost but was not obliged to review.