Speciality Brand label from Master Chef

Speciality Brand matmerk cheese smoothieA celebration of local Food. From left to right: Anne Marie Sando from Eiker Gardsysteri, Director of Matmerk, Nina Sundqvist, Master Chef, Christer Rødseth, and CEO of Epleblomst, Martin Holtskog. Photo: Mads Opsahl

Receives Speciality Brand label from Master Chef

A cheese from Buskerud and a black currant smoothie from Telemark are awarded branding labels. They are awarded official, Norwegian, Speciality Brand labels. The highly sought-after proof of excellence is handed over by Master Chef, Christer Rødseth

“Come up here,” Christer Rødseth beams as he is to hand over official Speciality Brand awards to two proud Norwegian local food producers.

A cheese from Eiker Gårdsysteri (Farm diary) and a blackcurrant smoothie from Epleblomsten (Apple Flower) in Telemark can now brandish their products with the stamp of approval that adorns much of Norway’s very best local food and drink. The award was accompanied by standing ovations during a congress for local food producers in Oslo at the restaurant Vaaghals, where Christer Rødseth is the Master Chef. Rødseth is the captain of the national team of chefs. 

Can’t change the name after this!

A happy Anne Marie Sando from Eiker Gårdsysteri receives the mark of approval for the cheese «Mutschli».

“Even though we already have a Speciality Brands for other cheeses, it is still great to get approval for «Mutschli». We were very anxious about the outcome while it was tasted by the jury,” Sando reveals.

“The Special Brand approval is a confirmation that we make good cheeses. This cheese recently received a silver medal at the World Cheese Awards, so we thought it would be strange if it didn’t pass through the eye of the needle to be branded as a Speciality as well,” she laughs.

The cheese is a semi-solid red washed rind cheese. The red rind is a result of salt washing over a period of about three weeks. The jury applauds good balance, rich taste and «nice small holes».

”But the name… Mutschli?”

“Mutschli is a type of cheese from Switzerland, and the name has been stuck with it since we learned to make it, right at the start. We have considered changing it, but now we cannot do that anymore – not after the World Cheese Awards and Speciality Brand label,” Sando answers.

Lifts Norwegian cheese

The cheese and Eiker Gårdsysteri also receives a large dose of praise from the Director of the Matmerk Foundation, Nina Sundqvist, Matmerk manages the Speciality Brand scheme.

“This cheese is so good that it is tempting to nibble it all day long! I do very much like to praise the skilled award collectors at Eiker Gårdsysteri,” Sundqvist exclaims.

“I also want to commend Eiker Gårdsysteri for a wonderful willingness to share their expertise with emerging cheese factories. They have an excellent culture of sharing. Yes, it seems as if they are not viewing others as being competitors. They want everyone to have the opportunity to develop and deliver quality cheeses. This great culture of sharing helps to strengthen the cheese production of Norway,” he continues

We know our business in Telemark!

“This is great fun! It is a recognition of high quality to receive the Speciality Brand label for our Blackcurrant smoothie,” CEO of Eplegården, Martin Holtskog, rejoices.

The juice press on the fruit farm in Sauherad has for a long time been allowed to adorn its apple cider with the Speciality Brand label. A cold pressed smoothie – exclusively made from blackcurrants – is added to their tally. The Specialiity Brand jury notes that it «smells fresh and summery with blackcurrant, and has a concentrated taste, with a distinct taste of raw material». 

“Really nice to be appraised for the taste. Telemark is not known as the most profiled food county in Norway. we think that it is extra nice when we can help show that we, of course, know our business in Telemark as well,” he continues.

“If we are not the most famous food county today, maybe we will get there one sunny day,” Holtskog smiles.

Facts about the Speciality Brand

The Speciality Brand (Spesialitet) is an official Norwegian information label that is awarded to local food and drinks. In order to be awarded the label, the product must be based on good Norwegian raw materials, it must be made according to local recipes, and the product must be approved by a highly competent jury of specialists.

Matmerk, an independent foundation established by the Agriculture and Food Ministry, is behind the labelling scheme. Just over 500 food and drink products in Norway are currently approved.