Smoked cheese from Denmark

Smoky flavors are often associated with a barbecue. Sauces and salt with smoke flavor are often used when the grill stays cold. But smoke and cream cheese? Rygeost is a regional specialty on the Danish island of Fyn (German Fünen) and, according to Jørgen Hoff, the only Danish cheese that is not a copy of a foreign cheese, but a Danish original.

Jørgen Hoff has been producing cheese in the small village of Gundestrup since 2007. His range includes more than 20 varieties. Most are interpretations of well-known foreign cheeses. Fynbo, for example, is based on Gouda, and Dana Blue is based on the English Stilton. Jørgen Hoff’s bestseller, however, is Rygeost, a smoked cheese. All of Denmark loves this cheese. The Gundestrup dairy supplies supermarket chains throughout the country, as well as the Danish royal family and top restaurants. Jørgen Hoff’s success, I am convinced after our visit, lies in his passion for his profession. Full of enthusiasm and in an infectiously good mood, he takes us on a tour of the cheese factory. Every week, he and his six employees produce around 15,000 smoked cheeses. And the trend is rising.

Der Rygeost ist eine Käsespezialität der dänischen Insel Fyn. Der Käse wird rund 20 Sekunden einem intensiven Rauch aus Biostroh ausgesetzt / © Foto: Georg Berg
Rygeost is a cheese specialty from the Danish island of Fyn. The cheese is exposed to an intense smoke of organic straw for about 20 seconds / © Photo: Georg Berg

Jørgen Hoff developed the machine that adds the smoke flavor to the fresh cheese himself. A cheese passes through the smoke clouds in the cheese rondel for just 20 seconds. But that is enough for a subtle smoke aroma. After the hellish ride through the smoke, the cheese bears distinctive stripes.

Nordic combination

Smoked cheese from Gundestrup has a mildly smoky aroma and maintains the perfect balance between finely acidic fresh cheese and a delicate smoky note. In Denmark, smoked cheese is eaten for breakfast. It goes well with rye bread, tomatoes, salt and pepper. At the end of the tour, we have the pleasure of tasting the cheese in the farm store. Jørgen spreads smoked cheese on a piece of rye crackers and places a blob of rosehip jam on top. He hands us this Nordic combination and says: this, this is sun over Gundestrup. He is right, it tastes fantastic.

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Other aspects (milk is not just milk, the favorite milk of cheese makers, What smoke brings flavor / Details cheese making / Specialty from a by-product: how whey becomes beer / Manufactures on Funen).

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Our work is inspired by human encounters and always culinary discoveries. What format do you need? A newsworthy report, an entertaining reportage, a short travel tip or a picture gallery? You can view all of Georg Berg’s photos on the subject of smoked cheese at the international photo agency Alamy

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The research trip was supported by the Fyn Tourist Board

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