Sweden's Single-Cow Cheese

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Single-cow cheese is essentially defined by its exclusivity, which makes it difficult to turn out on a commercial scale. One gourmet food shop in Stockholm, Bondens Matbod (the Farmer's Pantry), tried to produce its own, but the proprietors found they couldn't ensure enough quantity to make the product viable. And there are some naysayers who find that the whole idea takes a concern with traceability to a preposterous extreme. Some years ago, when confused communications led to the rumor, since disproven, that Thomas Keller was serving a Vermont single-cow cheese at his New York restaurant Per Se, foodie online forums erupted in scorn at locavorism run amok.

But according to Bengtsson, the response at PM & Vänner has been nothing but positive. "Ever since we first released our single-cow cheese, the philosophy behind it, the story of it, and of course the cheese itself have been extremely exciting to other chefs and colleagues," he says, "not to mention our guests. Everyone smiles when they hear about it, and I think they get the humor behind it. And humor, in my opinion, is a very, very important ingredient in gastronomy."

A longtime contributor to Gourmet magazine, Madrid-based Lisa Abend is the Spain correspondent for Time and also writes for The New York Times, Afar, and Bon Appétit. Her first book, The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's elBulli, was published in 2011. Her previous contribution to Gourmet Live was The Craft of Cabrales.

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