Monday, October 13, 2008

Why It's So Cool To Live In Linköping - Part 5: Norin's Ost

If you’re not hungry when you start reading this blog entry, you will be by the end of it. Ost means “cheese” in Swedish and the mere sound of that word causes fika-loving Swedish hearts to soar.

In Linköping, we have a little cheese shop. Actually, there are two of these little cheese shops in Linköping and then one more up the road in Norrköping. These are the kinds of shops Americans walk into and think, “I love being in Europe!”

Most people might think of these kinds of shops being in France, Switzerland, Italy and other places where cows (and sheep and goats) roam, but we have one up in Sweden, too. We have one in Linköping. And, in this humble bloggers opinion, it’s the best little cheese shop in the entire country.

Go Linköping.

To conclude our five-part Linköpinglivin' series on why living in Linköping is so cool, we take a look at Norins Ost.

Lena and Mats Norin are the third generation of cheese shop owners in their family. Since 1931, making Norin’s Ost the oldest cheese shop in Sweden, the Norin family has provided Linköping with Swedish-made, and more recently France- and Italian-imported, fresh cheese of all kinds: Hard, soft, cow, sheep, goat, blue, white, sharp, mild, expensive, inexpensive, cheese that smells bad, cheese that smells good, cheese that you will hate and cheese that you will love.

It’s an acquired taste, but if you know what I’m talking about, the smell of a good cheese shop can’t be beat. (And if you have never been in one, you will want to leave at first waft, but stick with it - it gets better.)

As if merely importing and “maturing” (as opposed to the actual making) wasn’t enough, the Norin family spends time distributing their cheeses throughout Sweden, educating groups, business and individuals about the art of cheese, wine and virtually everything that makes for a good picnic as well as working hard to find the next great discovery in the wide world of cheese. Speaking of good picnics, you can also pick up marmalade, crackers, vinegars, olive oils, cookies, chocolate truffles, pesto, olives, mustard and dried fruits of all kinds at Norin’s Ost shops.

Fresh, local, variety, high quality, personal touch, Linköping knows where to get the best cheese for breakfast, lunch, dinner or fika. Just check out the website and observe what one American travel writer affectionately refers to as “a festival of mold,” the European cheese shop.

Pictures above:

1. Norins Ost is found on Storgatan above Stora Torget and also down on Nygatan below Trädgårdstorget in Linköping and on Knäppingsborg in Norrköping.

2 - 4: Cheese, glorious cheese.

5. Lena Norin and an American treasuring the time behind the glass at a European cheese shop.


Katie said...

as much as i looooooove cheese
i was hoping for tales of
the kelly jean ronan visit!
next entry, ok?

Lisa said...

The smellier the better ;D

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

Cheated. Completely cheated. That's how I feel. I spent at least 68 hours in Linkoping and saw one place on your "cool" list. And that one place, Domkyrka, shouldn't even count because I can be standing anywhere in Linkoping and see that landmark. What gives? Is it because I'm so much cooler than you? You wanted a few "cool" spots that only you know about? Pretty selfish, Sean. I hope that smelly cheese was rotten.

Anna H said...

Oh, Todd, what a mean brother you have!
The cheese store is just a few steps from Domkyrkan!

(My grandmother used to live right behind it)

Cecilia said...

I sure know that cheese shop, the smell was so strong the first time I stepped in there, but now after spending 4,5 yrs in Ireland I'm so sick of 20 variations of cheddar and wish I could step into Norin's and buy a nice Prästost ;) I'm doing what you're doing but the other way around; I'm trying to make my way back to Sweden again, and it's harder to sort things out and make up my mind than I thought. Tack för en intressant blogg, kommer sakna den!

Sybaritan said...

My favoritestore in the whole wide world! Me and my fiance always buy cheese there as we live in Linköping. I have also been to the one year old kind of new Norins store in Norrköping which is really nice! I acually thought of writing about Norins in my blogg as well, and I will someday, but I haven't had the time yet!

By the way, when are you moving back to the other side of the world? ;-) And were to?


PS: Do you know what a swedish "sybarit" is? :-)

Lynette said...

I'm a transplanted Californian who lives in Linköping. I too love this little town. I too have been to Norin's ost shop and have purchased some really nice cheese there. But when I asked one day if they would carry Monterey Jack cheese...I had to say it's a cheese made in California...the man behind the counter stuck his nose up in the air and grunted and said that California doesn't make cheese and then walked away from me! There are great things that come out of California and he doesn't think that we have dairies and people who can make cheese there??? Excuse me, but cheese just from Sweden, France and Italy isn't the end all and be all in the cheese world...and what about Mexican cheese for us Mexican food lovers? Forgive my rant, I get a little tired of people here sticking their nose up in the air about California when they haven't even been there. Okay my rant is over....nice blog btw. :-)

Linköpinglivin' said...

So sorry you had a bad experience. I found most Swedes to be very open-minded about things like this and at least hide their snobbery if only out of courtesy and politeness. What I would give, even as I am in California right now (with Monterey Jack in my fridge), to walk into a European cheese shop and try 10 different cheeses finally settling on just the right one. Have a good time in Sweden - Enjoy every moment.

Lynette said...

No worries Sean! I actually have a friend here who has very negative views on many things and people in Linköping but I actually love my life here...grin...despite my ranting about "the cheese incident" :-) My husband is Linköpingsbo so I don't think we'll be moving anywhere else anytime soon. But sometimes I can smell the pacific and that's when I long for California and my Dad. I'll have to go into Norin's for you and tell them, "Sean say's hej" and purchase some nice white cheddar. Have a great day!