If a store has a big international cheese section, I usually poke around and look for my favorite Norwegian cheese, Nökkelost. It’s a light yellow cow’s milk cheese with caraway seeds in it.
Sadly, the most popular Norwegian cheese is Gjetost, a nasty medium brown goat’s milk cheese.
My mom was trying to get me to eat a Gjetost sandwich when I was about 12 and when I refused she handed one to my dad and said that he eats it and I should too. My dad took a bite and spit it back out and told me I didn’t have to eat Gjetost. My mom was angry that he didn’t cooperate, but I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Even at Norwegian import stores you can buy all sorts of other ethnic food, but they never have Nökkelost. They say it doesn’t come in very often and when it does it gets bought up and disappears quickly. Well, of course it does — the other cheese you sell is nasty!
So I did a little research last night and I found out more about these two cheeses. Nökkelost even has a Wikipedia page. In it I learned that my favorite Norwegian cheese is flavored with cumin, caraway seeds and cloves, is “expensive and somewhat rare” and that an American version was made in the 1960s by Kraft. It was called “Caraway” then later called “Kuminost Spiced Cheese” and it vanished in the 1970s.
Then I found an online store where I can buy my “expensive and rare” cheese. It’s $57.66 for a 2.2 pound wheel. Holy cheeses! That’s like a whole tank of gas. It’s a good thing my birthday is coming up soon…