Aquavit, a top Nordic Restaurant, in the Park Avenue Tower on East 55th Street, serves up some traditional and seasonal Nordic cuisine. With items like Swedish Meatballs for lunch, and five course tasting menus for dinner, this Michelin Star restaurant is traditional with a modern flare. Recently, Unika by Castello, which is a line of premium artisanal Danish cheeses, has made it’s way into NYC’s Nordic restaurants!
Aquavit held a tasting with some top Nordic Chefs, including Marcus Jernmark, of the Aquavit restaurant. Here they displayed, cooked with, and paired these unbelievable cheeses with some wines and Aquavit cocktails. Each cheese has a story, which is what makes them so special and is why you will only be able to try them in the top Nordic restaurants in New York.
Some of these cheeses from this creatively inspired collection are Krondild, a dill-flavored cheese that was inspired by an old Nordic tradition of pickling vegetables with dill in order to preserve them for the winter. By mixing the fresh dill and salt, it draws out more oil and is then melted down and mixed with the cheese. This one was an absolute winner, and is so delicious inside dishes or to eat on its own.
Gnalling, a small, dry cheese that is a mix of white mould and red smear, was actually discovered by accident! A batch of cheese was forgotten, and left to dry out further than the other cheeses. Once the Nordic chefs and cheese makers tried it, they realized it was delicious, and now actually wrap it in parchment for 4-6 weeks to dry out and create this uniquely mild, yet beautiful cheese.
Havgus is a unique semi-hard cheese, inspired by wetlands in Southwest Denmark. The cheese is filled with protein crystals to give you that saltiness that will remind you of the heavy influence these lands have on that section of Denmark. This cheese is very fun because it is mild and pure, but with a crispy surprise.
And of course, what kind of cheese tasting would it be, if there wasn’t any Blue. Hogelundgaard, the Nordic Blue is “strangled” to extract certain flavors and produce a blue cheese like no other. The cheese, with the addition of yeast, is stored in plastic and deprived of oxygen while maturing for 40 weeks! This method causes the cheese to be delicate, sweet, and fruit forward; certainly not your average blue.
For those of you cheese lovers out there, make sure to check out Unika by Castello at Aquavit. Here you can try the cheeses for yourself, make your own fun pairings, and try something you will not be able to get in any retail stores!
Aquavit is located at 65 E. 55th Street.