Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How About Some Cheese with That Coffee?

"Do you take your coffee with milk, sugar or cheese?"

"Juustoleipä, please."

The thought of a few blobs of squeaky cheese in your coffee is not at all strange if you're in Finland. In fact Finlanders use this national treasure, leipäjuusto also called juustoleipä, in a variety of ways from eating it as a dessert to an addition to a salad. Translated, leipäjuusto means "cheese bread" and traditionally was kept for long storage through the drying.

"Traditionally, leipäjuusto was dried and could then be stored for up to several years. For eating, the dry, almost rock hard cheese was heated on a fire which softened it and produced an especially appetizing aroma." (Wikipedia)

Made of cow, reindeer or goat's milk that's been curdled and formed into a round disk, leipäjuusto is then grilled or flambéed leaving distinctive charred marks on the surface.

Perhaps the thought of cheese in your coffee isn't too far fetched-- isn't cheese a close cousin of cream? Well for my fellow cheese enthusiasts, Carr Valley Cheese Company makes and sells this specialty for a modest sum if you want to experience a new pleasure that's a beloved Scandinavian culinary tradition not only in Finland but also in Sweden as well.

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