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Local Knowledge
By Trish Smith
13 October 2010

Wanting to learn more about the dark brown Huldreost cheese, I returned to Fenaknoken, the delicatessen in Oslo, and asked Eirik to tell me how it was made. He was so delighted to see me and hear about my impression of the cheese (which he had no doubt given me as a bit of a challenge, the way we Australians give visiting foreigners a Vegemite sandwich) that he happily told me all about it and explained how on earth they get it to turn dark chocolaty brown. And I took photos all over the shop and completely forgot to take one of him.

There are many varieties of goats cheese in Norway and they are all different shades of brown depending on how long the milk has been cooked for. The longer it cooks, the darker the milk turns. As the milk cooks, it reduces and thickens, and this is also how the cheesemakers adjust the hardness of the cheese. Light soft cheeses take less time to make than dark harder cheeses.

But how do you cook it for such a long time that it goes dark brown? Well, that depends on the size and shape of the pot. A large, wide, shallow pot will speed up the evaporation so you get a light cheese. A tall, narrow pot will slow down the evaporation so it can cook for longer and therefore develop a darker colour. Genius.

I met three people in Oslo who were all so enthusiastic about their city, their culture and their food that they happily stopped what they were doing and told me all about it. Ellen, a young woman who had lived in Oslo and Drobak and who gave me a long list of her favourite restaurants and museums to visit. Runar, the barman at my hotel who told me all about Aquavit. And finally Eirik at Fenaknoken. All three of these people were more helpful and interesting that any of the guidebooks I read before I travelled to Norway. I will make a special effort now, wherever I go, to introduce myself to the locals and ask them where to go and what to eat. And I’ll take a picture of them, if they’ll let me, so I can remember their friendly faces.

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Keywords: Friendly, Hear, light, See, young, Oslo

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