Coffee is a versatile food, there's no doubt about it. Do you remember, for example, the Scandinavian Egg Coffee?
However, you have probably never thought of enjoying a cup of coffee with a small piece of cheese dipped in it.
The pairing may certainly seem a bit risky, but in the Scandinavian peninsula it is normal, indeed traditional: it is here that the Kaffeost was born, a recipe which combines bitter coffee with Leipäjuusto, a typical Finnish cheese. More details?
Kaffeost, the surprising combination of coffee and cheese
Literally, Kaffeost means "coffee and cheese", a name that already explains what this preparation from the northern Scandinavian peninsula consists of.
The recipe is, in fact, originally from Swedish Lapland, but is very common in neighboring Finland.
It is not clear how the habit of serving cheese was born, and not just any cheese, but Leipäjuusto cut into cubes and dipped in the bitter beverage; it is true, however, how much this custom is rooted in the culture of some areas of the two countries.
We know well, in fact, how strong the bond with coffee is throughout the Scandinavian peninsula.
Just think of the tradition of Norwegian Karsk, or take a look at the ranking of countries in the world where the per capita consumption of coffee is very high (led by Finland).
In Lapland, in particular, coffee is traditionally served in handcrafted birch wood cups.
More than an energizing drink or a small daily pleasure, coffee is seen as an opportunity for sharing and socialising.
It is common practice to offer this coffee to visiting guests and refusing it is seen as a gesture of rudeness.
Don't be surprised if the Finns serve you Kaffeost: perhaps the combination with cheese will not seem natural to you, but hospitality rules require that you should at least taste it.
It's a chance to get to know Leipäjuusto's taste.
Leipäjuusto, the cheese used for Kaffeost
As we said, in fact, Kaffeost is not served with just any cheese, but with Leipäjuusto.
How does it differ from other dairy products?
It is usually made with cow's milk, but also with sheep's or reindeer's milk, depending on the area, and has a particular shape.
It has the appearance of a pretty thin (2 or 3 centimetres) but firm disk, it is cooked in the oven, grilled or flambéed, which explains the typical brown marks on the surface.
Sometimes it is also dried in such a way as to ensure a long storage.
In this case, before serving, it is softened near the fire so it won't be too hard.
The traditional way of serving Leipäjuusto is, precisely, together with coffee.
In this case, the cheese is cut into small pieces, some of which are dipped in the cup of bitter coffee, while the others are served alongside, leaving everyone free to choose how to taste them.
What does Kaffeeost taste like?
Impossible to describe the flavor of Kaffeost without tasting it. The cheese, immersed in hot coffee, will tend to soften slightly, without melting.
There are those who eat the small pieces of cheese first, while those who prefer to drink the coffee first.
In any case, since it is traditionally a welcome drink, it is served and consumed in company, but rather quickly.
This is because, as those who have tried it can confirm, when the coffee becomes cold, the flavor becomes definitely less satisfying.
Have you ever tried Kaffeeost?
Tell us about your experience!