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So Long, Scandie #1 – Messmör

In Eats, Swedish on June 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

It suddenly dawned on me that it is a mere 2 weeks before I wave goodbye to Scandinavia. Normally, when I travel to a new place, the first thing I would do is to comb the shelves of the supermarket and the list of ‘cuisine of XX’ on Wikipedia to make sure that I’ve eaten everything local that there is to eat. At least, everything affordable and remotely edible-sounding.


Recently, a fellow foodie friend (thanks, I!) bought for me some messmör (browned soft whey butter) from Sweden – apparently the OTHER ‘weird’ thing (besides brunost) that the Scandinavians do with the co-product (whey) of cheese production. It is like a semi-liquid brunost: whey that is boiled down a little less, without the cream, and with a little more sugar, to yield a spreadable whey ‘butter’ that is low in fat (5%), high in sugar (~50%) and tasting something like sweet boiled caramel milk with a creamy consistency.

I must say that it is pretty difficult for someone who didn’t grow up with it to take an instant liking to messmör, because it doesn’t quite fit the expectation of caramel (different lactose-type sweetness), nor butter (not quite as creamy), nor cheese (really really sweet), but it does grow on you. I first got accustomed to it on my hands-free bread (last FAB), and now I enjoy it on soft Swedish bread (got more again from Lund!).


Well, if that’s not convincing enough, perhaps knowing that it’s a more enjoyable form of whey supplement, high in good quality protein, calcium and iron would be an incentive to give it a shot 😉


While googling info about messmör, I realized I’ve overlooked the entire supermarket cultured milk shelf — the cartons of STUFF that resides above the milks and beside the yoghurts. The STUFF called : Tykmælk, Ymer, Ylette, A38, and Koldskål. They all come in the same dairy-style cartons, they all indicate some level of fat content (0,1% , 1,5% or 3,5%) in big bold fonts, and they all have ingredient lists that say ‘Højpasteuriseret homogeniseret sødmælk, syrnet med mælkesyrekultur’ — simply meaning pasteurized and homogenized milk soured with milk culture (i.e. some kind of lactic acid bacteria). What are the differences then, and are they so huge that they warrant this variety of labeling, boggling the mind of a frazzled foreigner who still can’t figure out the simplest Danish? Hey, that’s what I’m trying to find out now — I’ve currently eaten my way through one carton of Tykmaelk and half a carton of A38… would you care to join me to complete my mission? 🙂

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  1. Good to read that I’m not the only person that get’s more excited by the local supermarket, than by cultural buildings 😉
    A38 is nice, and have you tried Skyr yet? I’m not sure if it’s Scandinavian though..it’s also cultured, but not sour, and very thick, really good in my opinion 🙂
    I’ve been searching the web for more information on the cultured milk product here a few months ago, cause the package indeed doesn’t reveal much! But I didn’t find a lot, A38 contains some Acidophilus strain, which is supposed to survive the stomach and do healthy things to your intestinal flora, but the others, no idea. Funny, in Holland the package would be full of health claims 😉
    Btw, some other typical Danish things you def. have to try (well..if you like licorice) is this Kung Fu ispinde: http://www.frisko.dk/produkter_kungfu.html It is so yummie when it’s hot, wish I could take some with me to NL..
    –Thanks again for the tunn brod! 😀

  2. nope i’ve not tried Skyr! haha i read up on it in wiki — it’s Icelandic strained cultured milk… is it like creme fraiche or greek yoghurt? hehe i’m proud enough as it is to have learned in 10 months to eat liquorice without cringing 😉 but definitely won’t buy it hahahaha…

  3. oh Ingrid, the messmör tastes awesome with meatballs!! and also in combination with salad dressing in a wrap!! (spread some messmör on the wrap, put the ingredients you want, squeeze some salad dressing and munch! yum yum!) -gosh i speak so much in exclamation marks when it comes to food!

  4. Just read your wrap idea, great!! I’m going to try this tonight, I have a friend over and of obviously we go for a picnic in Frederikspark. Still have some yummy tunn brod in the freezer which could serve as wrap, perfect 🙂
    Skyr is like a less tart and very thick kwark/fromage frais -as in: stick your spoon in the cup, turn it up side down and nothing will move-. Also low fat and a real protein booster (13/100gr.!)
    Haha, it’s so hard to imagine how someone could not like licorice 😀

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