Västerbotten: Week 5 of 52 Weeks of Cheese

It was going to be Brie today. I’ve had a hankering for a nice wheel of Brie for the past week–I even had the perfect crusty bread at home to go with it. All I needed was the cheese.

But before I could make it to the cheese counter this morning, I found myself at IKEA browsing the showrooms to get ideas for jazzing up my apartment. I gazed longingly into the perfect model kitchens and living rooms, scoured the price tags  on the unending wall of paintings and posters, and worked hard to restrain myself from diving face-first into the plushest beds on earth. (Seriously, couldn’t I just rent out a couple of rooms in IKEA and live there?) Soon, however, I emerged from the winding maze that is IKEA, and was proud I’d accomplished my goal of not buying anything, only idea gathering.

Little did I know, the food section was just beyond the end of the furniture maze. I smelled the hot dogs first (what happened to the Swedish theme, guys?), then laid eyes on several shelves overstocked with glistening foreign foods. My frist though was to shield my eyes and run while my wallet was still thick, my second thought was that I have never run from an intriguing display of food and I certainly wouldn’t today, either. This is my life.

The cheese display drew me in instantly. The selection was limited to four different Swedish cheeses, all of them likely mid-quality, nearing the end of their shelf-life, and travel-weary from their journey over the pond. But…I just couldn’t resist buying a nice Swedish cheese. At IKEA.

Week 5: Swedish Västerbotten

Purchased at: IKEA – Brooklyn

Cost per pound: $10.99

Aging time: At least 12 months

Hardness/style: Hard

Milk type: Cow

Rating (of 10): 7

Another cheese with very pronounced flavor. Tastes like Parmesan, but is slightly softer in texture and has distinct bitter notes. A little research revealed that Swedes view this cheese as the “king of cheeses” and indulge in it often. It’s great for enjoying by itself or with a good cracker. If you’re stuck in a cheddar or American cheese rut and want to try something new, I’d recommend Västerbotten. Different, but not intensely so.




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