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|Country of origin||Sweden|
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Aging time||One year or more|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Västerbotten cheese (IPA: [²vɛstɛrˌbɔtːɛn] (listen), Swedish: Västerbottensost) is a cheese from the Västerbotten region of Sweden. It is a hard cow's milk cheese with tiny eyes or holes and a firm and granular texture. As in Cheddar cheese, the curd is heated, cut, and stirred before the cheese is moulded and aged. Strong in flavour, its taste is described as somewhat like Parmesan cheese, salty, but with more bitter notes. It is light yellow in colour and has a fat content of 31%. Many Swedish people consider it the king of cheese and demand for it has often outstripped the limited supply. For this reason, it is roughly twice as expensive as other types of aged cheese. Västerbotten cheese must be aged for at least 12 months, but 14 months is more common.
The village of Burträsk (now part of the Skellefteå municipality) claims Västerbotten cheese was invented there in the 1870s, supposedly by a dairy maid, Eleonora Lindström. According to legend, she was left alone to stir the curd of a traditional cheese but was interrupted, either by other chores or an assignation with her lover. This resulted in alternating periods of heating and stirring of the curdling milk.
In Sweden, Västerbotten cheese is considered a must-have for the late summer Crayfish party and is also eaten together with the traditional dish of pickled herring, year round. It adds a distinctive flavour to the highly popular Västerbotten cheese pie or västerbottensostpaj as it is known in Sweden.
Västerbottensostpaj is the name given to the pie made using the cheese. Its main ingredients are Västerbottensost cheese, cream and eggs. The pie is eaten widely in Sweden, especially during the celebrations of Christmas, Easter, Midsummer and during the crayfish season in August.
- Fox, Patrick (1999). Cheese: Chemistry, Physics, and Microbiology. Volume 2: Major Cheese Groups. Springer. ISBN 0-8342-1339-7. Royal inauguration of the Cheese House in Burträsk. Retrieved 31 January 2006.
- Vaaterbottensost at Swedishfood.com
- The Swedish Cheese That Can't Be Moved (BBC News) accessed 1 Aug 2015
- Västerbottensostpaj recipe