Hello fellow cheese lovers!
It has been a looong while since I posted anything, but I swear, I have very good reasons for that! I am in the midst of writing my master’s thesis, after all.
I am so excited to share my first cheese adventure with you! That’s a little misleading. This certainly wasn’t my FIRST cheese adventure. But it’s the first one I’m ever writing about for this blog, which is pretty exciting.
So here’s the deal. I spent all of last week driving the Ring Road in Iceland with my bestie. It took us 5 days to see the entire country. Well, except for the parts in the middle…and to the west… Basically we saw the perimeter of the country – BUT it was incredible.
One of the most exciting parts of that trip was when we finally returned to Reykjavik on the day before we flew home. I got to visit a CHEESE SHOP that I had been reading about for weeks prior to going on this trip. The shop is called Búrið, and it is the sweetest little shop you ever did see – as was the owner, Ernie, and the cheesemonger, Lilja.
One of my goals in Iceland was to taste some Icelandic cheese. While Burid specializes in imported cheeses, they did have three varieties of Icelandic cheese available.
The first was something called Tindur cheese – and yes, I totally swiped right 😉
Tindur cheese is an aged, cow’s milk cheese that I saw on a lot of menus in Reykjavik, served on burgers or as an appetizer with cured meats/fish. Lilja kindly cut me a piece to taste, and it was absolutely delicious. It was so silky and creamy in texture despite being a firmer, aged cheese, and it had a blissful sweetness to it that was beautifully balanced by the salt. The variety I tried was slightly younger, but Lilja informed me that more often, Tindur cheese is aged enough that it will have those gorgeous cheese crystals (tyrosine).
Next up was an Icelandic blue cheese. But wait, IT GETS BETTER. Ernie, the owner of Burid, soaks the Icelandic blue in port wine. That’s right. PORT. WINE. Genius.
Lilja gave me some of this scrumptious cheese to try as well. It was so fruity and sweet, which balanced out the characteristic saltiness of the blue cheese. Perfect combo. Would be delicious on a dessert cheese platter.
The third Icelandic cheese offered at Burid was a variety similar to Emmentaler. In addition to these and other delicious cheeses from all over the world, the shop carries all your classic specialty products, as well as some more unique (at least for me) Icelandic products. For example, they have a whole wall dedicated to Icelandic salts. They sounded absolutely amazing, but were a little out of my price range. One day I will be able to purchase fancy salt (maybe) – but for now, it’s just Windsor table salt for me.
They also have a beautiful section of jellies, spreads, and preserves that are made in-house at Burid. I bought a Riesling wine jelly to eat with all my Bries and Camemberts.
Lastly, I want to tell you about this truly unique product I found and took home from Burid. It’s a berry juice with whey and Icelandic herbs. Sounds totally weird, right?
But what a unique way to use up that whey! If you don’t know, whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process, and dairy production results in so much whey and it is SO acidic that it can damage the environment if not properly disposed of. Being an environmental studies student, I am always interested in learning new wheys to deal with our environmental impacts (and no, stopping cheese-making all together is not an option!).
People make all sorts of things out of whey, including other cheeses like ricotta and gjetost, but now apparently berry beverages! Full disclosure, this is just the first time I’ve ever heard of it, but it’s possible that this product has been around a while.
The ingredients in this beverage are:
- whey (of course), from Erpsstadir farm;
- Icelandic berry juice from crowberries, blueberries, and bilberries;
- 5% raw sugar; and
- wild herb extract from Iceland moss, Arctic thyme, birch, and Irish moss
And honestly, it tastes delicious! It tastes slightly vinegary at first, but then it’s perfectly sweet. Something about the flavour really reminds me of both the taste of maple syrup but also just brings me to an actual maple syrup farm in my mind. Really trippy. I think it’s the raw sugar.
I have no idea why this little drink is only offered in the world’s tiniest bottle (40mL), but I’d definitely drink more than that! It’s kind of a blessing in disguise though, ’cause it it’s an allowable size for airline carry-on baggage!
Speaking of the environment, Burid also offered this super cool beeswax-coated paper for wrapping food. Totally washable and reusable – plus cute designs!
This little shop was so charming and lovely – and its staff equally so. It really was the Riesling jelly on top of an un-brie-lievable trip. Highly recommend you stop by if you are ever in Reykjavik!