Photographed by Per Kvalvik, Tommy Rustad and Hanne Stensvold
It seems an unlikely setting for the world’s best cheese: far north among Norway’s fjords, in a dairy built a decade ago, after a journalist and a farmer fell in love and began experimenting with cheesemaking in their bathroom.
But here you’ll find Kraftkar. Among 3,000 cheeses from 31 countries entered into last year’s World Cheese Awards, this natural-rind, one-year-aged blue was named World Champion. The wheel came out on top again the following day when judged against every top World Cheese Awards winner from the past 28 years—effectively earning the title of “best cheese ever”. A big honor for Tingvollost, a tiny creamery run by members of four family generations and just a few employees.
Small-scale, careful production is one of Tingvollost’s hallmarks—and that’s unlikely to change. The company doesn’t export, so experiencing Kraftkar’s perfectly distributed mold and mouth-coating creaminess is but a dream for most of us. For now, a peek inside the creamery will suffice—and perhaps inspire a journey. “The rest of the world will have to come to Norway,” says dairy manager Egil Smith-Meyer.