I love exploring the foodie traditions of other cultures, especially things that sound weird , disgusting, or something you never would have thought to combine and it turns out to be really yummy.
My father in law and I were walking through the grocery store on one of our first days living here, and they had cheese out for sampling (Baked cheese? yes please!) . He asked me if I liked it and, of course, I nodded vigorously, and he proceeded to explain to me how they serve it with coffee and you’re supposed to dip it. I’m pretty sure the face I made was something similar to the face I made when I was willing myself to try escargot (PS, not something I will be trying again. THAT is a texture one does not forget!). Coffee and cheese are two of my favorite things, but for some reason, I just couldn’t imagine that flavor combination. So, since I’ve never tried this tradition before in previous visits, we got cheese and went home and gave it a try.
The cheese is called Juustoleipä (Yoo-stole-A-pa), which translates into “cheese bread”. It’s a softer cheese that has been baked or grilled, and you can find it sold that way in the stores. The flavor is very mild and it squeaks on your teeth when you chew. If you’re a texture person like me, it makes for an interesting first experience, but definitely not unpleasant. You can also cut it in to chunks and throw a few at a time in the coffee and just let it sit for a minute or two, which I prefer over dipping because it warms the cheese through a little more.
Another way that Juustoleipä can be served is sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar and topped with cloudberry preserves. Sounds delicious, right? I have not tried this method yet, but, when cloudberries come into season, that’s near the top of the list!
If you want to try this at home but live in an area where this cheese isn’t available, try baking some fresh mozzarella. It’s the closest cheese I can think of in both texture and flavor. Buon appetito!