20070828gamalost02.jpgLast week, English-language culture site The Norway Post published an enlightening article on a rare Norwegian cheese called Gamalost. The name literally means "old cheese," and, according the article, dates back to Viking times, when it was used to "enhance sexual prowess." The cheese, whose odor has been described as reminiscent of an old sock, is, perhaps predictably, losing favor among Norway's youth.

From the article:

"Phewww! That stuff is nasty—smells like my dog's bed, but my Grandpa loves it!" was a typical answer when I asked some teens in Balestand, Norway, if they ate Gamalost cheese.

Made from skim milk, Gamalost is low in fat yet high in protein and therefore offers benefits for general health, in addition to its apparent positive sexual effects. And how does it taste, you ask? Apparently it tastes much like it smells. Again, from the article:

Gamalost is a hard crumbly cheese with a very sharp, intense flavor...One story I heard attesting to the intensity of Gamalost's flavor was that when an old-timer was asked how Gamalost was made, he replied, "Take some cheese, stuff it in an old sock, bury it in manure under the barn and when it is ready, it will crawl out."

These days, the only firm that produces Gamalost is Tine, located in the old Viking settlement town of Vik, and famous for its mild Emmental-style cheese, Jarlsberg. Unfortunately (or perhaps not), Gamalost seems to be unavailable in the U.S. However, until the day that it does make its American landfall, we can all bask in the glory of this Scandinavian stinker by closing our eyes and listening to The Gamalost Song.

About the author: Jamie Forrest publishes Curdnerds.com from his apartment in Brooklyn, New York, where he lives with his wife, his daughter, and his cheese.

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