Why maintain the distinction?

There are six or seven different types of white block cheese available in Iceland. Some have red packaging, some have blue, some are called skolaosti and some are not. I can tell some of the distinction comes from how much fat is in each type, but flavor wise they are identical to me. So I always stand there in the cheese aisle in Iceland, wondering why in the world there are so many different types.

Not cheddar versus jack versus swiss versus brea. No, 7 or 8 different types of what is basically jack cheese. Honestly, every time I go to the store, I just randomly pick one. I like all of them just as much, I have no favorite; I consider them all the same cheese.


Anonymous said…
Ég hef heldur aldrei skilið þetta almennilega. Reyndar er 17% osturinn stundum góður og stundum eins og plast, 11% osturinn er hins vegar alltaf óætur...

Maður fær alveg cheddar og maribo og fleiri tegundir en bara í litlum stykkjum (já og svo eru auðvitað til fínu ostabúðirnar en maður tímir ekkert oft þangað. Manchego, mmm!)
Anonymous said…
That's an interesting point of view. I had the same experience when I moved to the US. :-) I couldn't understand why not only they sold the exact same cheese in a variety of different packaging, but they would fill up whole sections with it. And if you had an urge for something other than block cheese (or worse, slice cheese), good luck. The fact that you miss the selection between Jack and Cheddar and that ghastly product called American cheese tells me this is a cultural thing. :-)
But I think you're right that many of the Icelandic varieties (but not all, consider for instance Óðals) just differ in fat or protein or calcium content, but aside from texture taste exactly the same. Icelanders are not famous for making 200 types of cheese.
By the way, I now know better than to do my shopping in any of the generic supermarkets here in the US, and as it happens, stores like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or even Henry's Farmer's Market have plenty of variety when it comes to cheese, whether imported or not.
Lissy said…
Ohhh, yes, Trader Joes and Whole Foods are much better, not only in cheeses but also because they carry free-range chicken. Henry's was just amazing, I used to shop in the one in Oceanside every weekend.

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