So far I’ve encountered a few interesting foodstuffs since I’ve been on Svalbard. Chief amongst those is Brunost. This is a Norwegian delicacy, and it sounds pretty unappetising when you know that brunost means brown cheese. It isn’t strictly speaking a cheese, but caramelised brown whey in a cheese shaped block. It doesn’t sit and mature like a cheese does. You find it in a chiller cabinet at the supermarket in various bright coloured packages.
That doesn’t make it sound any more appetising does it?
Well let me tell you, its amazing! I love the stuff. Sliced thinly using a special cheese slicer it goes on waffles, biscuits and toast (and probably other things). It is slightly sweet and slightly savoury and melts in the mouth. It goes perfectly with jam (I’ve got boysenberry at the moment) as it balances the sweetness beautifully. It seems to be eaten at breakfast lunch and dinner (I think).
The second Norwegian food experience came courtesy of the kantena at UNIS (I missed out on trying whale as its was while I was on field work). Friday lunchtime I was planning to eat the hot dish as its Friday gathering (beer drinking time) after lectures and I knew I wouldn’t be home until later than normal. What could it be? Chilli con carne? Sausage stew? Meatballs? No, it was grøt. I was faintly disappointed to see just really sticky looking rice, but the Norwegians sounded really happy about the idea. They explained it was sweet rice made with milk.
It was rice pudding, rice pudding for lunch! With jam and sugar and more brunost! Must say while I do love rice pudding, I would have liked something more substantial, I was hungry again by 4pm!