Finland is a small Nordic country in Europe with an area of just about 338,424 sq. km. The Finns have a great love for their cup of coffee, so much that the average per capita consumption of coffee in Finland is about 12 kg per annum, which is more than twice than the average coffee consumption of other European countries. Coffee is an integral part of Finnish hospitality and a trip to Finland is incomplete without having their delicious, traditional coffee – Kaffeost.
Coffee and Cheese, have you ever had them together? Did you imagine these two could go together. Not the ideal pairing for most of us, isn’t it? But not for the Finnish. The traditional Finnish coffee – Kaffeost involves dipping cheese into coffee and having it, or having coffee with cheese pieces in it. The cheese in question is called Leipäjuusto, and it originated in Finland, though it can also be found in Northern Sweden. Leipäjuusto is made from cow milk, goat milk or reindeer milk. If this does not sound very appealing to you, the Finnish also have an option of having coffee with sweet bun, called as kaffebröd.
In the United States, Leipäjuusto is called as Finnish Squeaky Cheese, as the cheese squeaks against the teeth when eaten. It originated in Southern Ostrobothnia, Northern Finland and Kainuu. To prepare Leipäjuusto, the milk is curdled and set to form a round disk from 2 to 3 cm thick. After this Leipäjuusto is baked, grilled or flambeed to give it its distinctive brown, charred marks. In Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, Leipäjuusto is called juustoleipä. Other dialects also have different names for this cheese, though Leipäjuusto is the most common one. Traditionally, Leipäjuusto was dried and could then be stored for up to several years. For eating, the dry, almost rock hard cheese was heated on a fire which softened it and produced an especially appetising aroma. Even today, cheese maybe dried by keeping it in a well ventilated place for a few days. It has a mild flavour.
Traditionally, Leipäjuusto is served as a side dish for coffee. To make the renowned Kaffeost, a few pieces of Leipäjuusto are kept in a cup and hot coffee is poured over it. Leipäjuusto can also be cut into 5 to 7 cm long narrow pieces, and served with cloudberry jelly or fresh cloudberries. In modern Sámi cuisine, diced Leipäjuusto is often used as a replacement for Feta cheese in many salads. Leipäjuusto is also served as a dessert, like Camembert, fried on a pan with butter till it softens up, served with jam, traditionally cloudberry.
Kaffeost is basically black coffee with chunks of Leipäjuusto placed at the bottom of the coffee, to create something magical. The taste is said to be similar to Tiramisu, creating a dessert like taste. The cheese has a taste remnant of Halloumi, it won’t melt completely, but it isn’t salty, it is slightly sweet. Together, the Kaffeost is so filling, that it is almost like having one nutritious meal.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Have you ever tried the Kaffeost? Know some interesting facts about Kaffeost you would like to share? Tell us in the comments, and get featured on this page!