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JULY, 2008

 Swedish Blues

Skärvången and Brostorp

Sweden has a lot of cheese. They, along with the other Scandinavian countries, account for half of all European cheese exported to the US. Much of this cheese is mild, which is ok for sandwiches, but otherwise not all that interesting.

In a market in Göteborg I was happy to find two blue cheeses made by artisan cheese makers. The first is Blå-Ädel, made by Skärvångens Bymejeri, a small diary farm and cheese maker run by all of 22 people. This cheese was creamy and very tasty. The rind was a bit spicy in a bad way, so we cut that off before eating the rest.

Skärvången also makes a cheese called Surströmmingsosten (soured herring cheese). Surströmming is herring that is fermented in barrels, then canned. As the tinned herring continues to ferment, the cans bulge. That's how you know it's ready. The herring has a very strong taste, an even stronger smell, and many people do not like it. The cheese itself contains just 14% surströmming so the taste should be much milder. I hope to try it the next time I visit.

Brostorps Ostar Blåmögel was slightly larger and a firmer cheese than the Blå-Ädel. It had a somewhat milder blue flavor, and was firm enough to slice easily. They also make a soft cheese called Vitmögelosten Josefine.

posted by KRASK  July 28, 2008 11:06  Monday Cheese  comments (3)


Camembert D'Isigny

Napoleon ate it every day. French troops received it as a daily ration during WWI.
It's been made since the late 18th century but may not survive in its original form.

Camembert, the cheese that unites France, has traditionally been made from raw, unpasteurized milk in Normandy. Many countries, like the US, have completely outlawed young, unpasteurized cheese so authentic Camembert cannot be found. Even in France, multi-national corporations make pasteurized Camembert claiming that traditional methods are too complicated and costly. Some producers micro-filter their milk before being made into cheese and even Isigny Saint-Mére has sought to change the rules as to what constitutes a real Camembert de Normandi.

There are only five producers of unpasteurized, unfiltered, Camembert left in France, and of those, only one is in the city of Camembert itself.

Is there really a difference in taste between raw and processed? Some claim you can tell what the cows have been feeding on in different times of the year by the taste of the cheese. Others find little difference. I sure don't know.

I've yet to find Camembert de Normandi, but I did get a micro-filtered Camembert from Isigny Saint-Mére, a cooperative that has been in business since the 1930's. Despite being filtered, it was quite good, with a somewhat nutty flavor and a tangy finish. I'd buy it again, but I'm still looking for the real thing.

posted by KRASK  July 10, 2008 16:07  Monday Cheese  comments (0)


Two new tracks have been posted, Splitsville and Paranoia Machine. Also, there's a new flash player that allows you to download the mp3s if you want (right click on song title).

posted by KRASK  July 03, 2008 10:00  Music  comments (0)

JUNE, 2008

 Basiron Pesto 50+

Browsing through the neighborhood grocery store as I often do when in the need of food, I spotted a bright green cheese that looked like it had gone terribly wrong. Not wrong-right as in 4" mold hairs growing on it, but wrong-wrong as in toxic chemical reaction or an overdose of FD&C Green No. 3. Turns out it was pesto cheese. It's firm, easy to slice like cheddar, and really did taste like pesto. It would probably be great in a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato.

posted by KRASK  June 30, 2008 16:15  Monday Cheese  comments (2)

 New Music

The music section of the site is finally functional. Of note are two tracks, Music for Monorail and Music for Bubbleator.

Recently the citizens of Seattle attempted to create a mass transit system using elevated monorail technology. This idea was based on an existing and functioning monorail created for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. In existence for over 45 years, it is the only fully self-sufficient public transit system in the United States.

I thought that it would be interesting to have music from local artists playing on the monorail for people to enjoy, much like street performers play on subways in Paris. Rather than songs played randomly, music would be targeted for different times of day, months, and even seasons.

Music for Monorail was designed with the morning commuter in mind. Ideal for drinking double tall lattes to while cruising non-stop above the gridlock on the way to work.

Unfortunately bigger heads prevailed and the new monorail plan was killed.

Music for Bubbleator also came from this creative period. Originally it was intended for commuters to experience on an early Saturday or Sunday morning, but then I started thinking about other creations from the World's Fair.

There used to be something called the Bubbleator. It was a giant, clear ball elevator, which had a podium from which the operator stood and controlled the slow, steady, voyage up and down the single story. It held 150 people and was very futuristic. Since the Monorail music project was dead, I figured I would name this track after another dead method of transportation.

After all this I was surprised to find that a soundtrack had already been created for the Bubbleator! "Man In Space With Sounds" was conducted by Attilio Mineo and released in 1962.

posted by KRASK  June 29, 2008 13:33  Music  comments (0)

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