Ikea: Even their cheese is dope.

So today was a regular old Monday. My week’s end was packed with old friends, new friends, a cold morning cheering to those admirable fools on Ward Parkway, and a Royals game. Needless to say, I got absolutely zero things checked off my actual ‘to-do’ list. Monday came without a warning saying, “Wake up biznatch, I’m bringing my A game.” That it did. Woke up with a sore-ish throat, Olive Garden pasta party for my students (shout out to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student Series), recess duty– the works. I call my kärlek named Derek and say, “Ya know what, let’s meet at Ikea after work. I’ve got a few things to grab.” I knew he was hooked. The man cannot say no to Ikea. Nor can I.

By some grace of a monetary-conscious higher power, we checked out with only the items on my list. Say what? Let me break down our love for Ikea for you beautiful readers. Ikea opened in Merriam in September 2013. We moved out of an apartment into our house Halloween 2013.

“OMG LET’S FURNISH EVERYTHING. MODERN. CLEAN. WALLS. STORAGE. LIGHTING. EUROPEAN. CHEAP. MEATBALLS. STOCKHOLM LINE. SO SIMPLE. $.99 BREAKFAST. HOLY. YAS. IKEUH HUH!”

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been to Ikea since. I honestly can’t. If I had to guess, I’d say probably in the 20s. We know the ins and outs. The shortcuts, the new items, new locations of old items, everything. You will never, however, find us there on the weekend. And you will never see just one of us there. It is a team effort. It is like Netflix cheating, but probably worse.

So anyway. I mentioned earlier how we checked out with only the items of our list…but that’s not…entirely..accurate. As I’m finalizing my purchases, I suggest something along the lines of grabbing some cheese to review. I meet him at the cheese fridge and we talk it over. The selection wasn’t much, but it was doable. This was happening– I walked back to the cashier with a grin on my face- poor thing didn’t know what the hail was going on, but that’s okay. It was cheesin’ time. We choose the Herrgårdost, Prästost, and the Knäckebröd Flerkorn (AKA multigrain crispbread).

When you go to Ikea, you are probably looking for some housewares, something for storage, a cute vase to put those weird decorative balls inside of– crap like that, right? I have a new challenge for you: food. If nothing else, at least go in for their $.99 breakfast in the morning. Their food really isn’t that bad- in fact…it’s fantastiskt! So I had high hopes for our cheesy snack.

cheese, ikea, snacks

The Tripod

We’ll start off with ‘setting the mood.’ Now, get your mind of the gutter. I believe that all eating settings, especially those that involve cheese, need to be well thought out. Mondays at our house are “Hip Hop Mondays.” We listen to hip hop of all kinds, it is as simple as that. It is a great way to finish Day 1 of the work grind. I recommend it, and you can listen to the playlist here. The candle from Central Candle Co. is lit, the dog has a bone to play with. My cheese book is open with a pen and paper for notes. There, the mood has been set. First up, Herrgårdost.

cheese, ikea, snacks

Don’t let Herrgård down.

This cheese is a buttery Swiss-like cheese. It is the drier cheese of the two and tastes like a combination of Swiss and a mild cheddar. The package gave it 4/5 strength dots, but I’d disagree. The flavor wasn’t POW like other white semi-soft cheese. I’d give it 2/5 strength dots. This cheese has smaller and fewer holes than Swiss. I took the cheese without bread first, then tried it with the crispbread. I didn’t mind this cheese, but is isn’t one that I would hang out around on a Saturday night unless I’m a few glasses of cab deep. I’m also not the wild about Swiss either, so that is something to consider. According to my trusty World Cheese Book by Juliet Harbutt, Herrgårdost cheese was created in the 20th century as an alternative to Gruyére cheese. It is recommended to be paired with a fruity white wine and tangy fruit.

Before I move forward with the second cheese, I’d like to make a shout out to the Knäckebröd Flerkorn crispbread. Although the crisps come in large circles, they are easy to break apart and are just the right amount of crisp. Not too crispy that you bite into it and it falls all over your plate. This bread provides the perfect balance for these two semi-soft cheeses.

cheese, ikea, bread, crispbread

It’s flerkorn good!

And now for Prästost!

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Let’s toast to prästost!

This cheese is GOOD. Without the crispbread, I got a MAJOR Havarti vibe from this cheese. Which in Cate world, that’s the good stuff. It even as the same creamy white look with little tiny holes throughout. This is a much sharper cheese than the Herrgårdost, but I don’t feel it deserves the 4/5 strength dots. I feel it is more of a 3/5. This is a stronger smelling, creamy and moist semi-soft cheese. After I slapped it onto the crispbread, DAMN. This Monday was turning around. The next date for me and Prästost involves two slices of sourdough bread and my stove top… YA FEEL ME? I have a strong inkling that this cheese will melt like my heart when I see puppies playing with newborn babies.

According to my World Cheese Book, Prästost means “priest cheese.” This cheese was created in the 16th century when farmers needed to pay a tithe to the church in the form of goods, often milk. HISTORY + CHEESE = Seriously some of my all time favorite things. This cheese pairs well with soups, and fruity red wines. I try my best to NOT drink during the week (unless its Wednesday and I’m with my frands, of course), but we shared a small class of Pinot Noir (that was all our Bota Box had to offer) and it was a match made in heaven. I feel this cheese would go superbly with red sangria on a patio on a beautiful spring dusk.

cheese, ikea, snacks

Brings tears to my eyes.

So, readers, friends, martians. Ikea has done it again. Next time you are in buying a laundry basket and/or some legit lamp, head on over to the Swedish market. It’s amazing how some cheese, good company, and hip hop can turn a very Mondayish Monday around. Until next time, keep cheesin’ y’all.

-C

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