Norwegian Blue — Dead Parrot or Best Cheese of 2023…or both?

Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot Sketch”, one of the most famous of the sketches in the television comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, was written by Graham Chapman and John Cleese and first performed by Cleese and Michael Palin in December 1969. Known for its beautiful plumage, the remarkable Norwegian Blue prefers ‘keeping on its back’ and, periodically, ‘pining for the fjords’ according to pet shop owner, played by Palin.

Fast forward 54 years to 2023, the Norwegian Blue has a totally different meaning. The Norwegian soft blue farmhouse cheese made with pasteurized cows’ milk has been crowned the best cheese of 2023. The Nidelven Blå, from cheesemaker Gangstad Gårdsysteri, beat out more than 4,500 competitors (4502 to be exact) from 43 countries to win the 35th annual World Cheese Awards, held in central Norway city of Trondheim this past week.

Nidelven Blå from Norwegian cheesemaker Gangstad Gårdsysteri. Photo: Gangstad Gårdsysteri.

This global cheese fiesta, organized by the Guild of Fine Food and known as the World Cheese Awards, reached its 35th edition this year.

Judges were lavish in their praise for Nidelven Blå. Described as possessing a “short creaminess” akin to “real dense fudginess” by one, another extolled it as “the perfect blue cheese ” while  third connoisseur noted its balanced taste profile, highlighting “fruity overtones” and “wine-like characteristics” that made the cheese communicate in a “very unique language.”

Besting 292 other entries from the host country alone, this was Norway’s third victory in the 35 years of the competition grabbing the title from a Swiss cheese, Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, which captured the top prize in 2022.

One has to wonder and/or imagine if the Norwegian Blue cheese will find its way to Henry Wenslydale’s Cheese Shop in the near future.

So…the Norwegian Blue. Congrats to Gangstad Gårdsysteri, condolences to the pet shop customer in Ipswitch, I mean Bolton.

In: Odds & Sods