When a few of our consultants were in Europe last month, they toured the Lofoten Islands of Norway recreationally. Of course, our restaurant consultants are always making food and restaurant notes--we're all foodies at heart--and one point of interest was the Aalan Gård
farm in Bøstad, Norway (with easy access along the E10).
One of the prominent local fares throughout northern Norway is brown cheese, which our consultants learned is actually created from the residual products of processing cheese. It is actually, more literally, a carmel, created from the sugar water processed out of the milk as it is churned for cheese. It is a lovely practice of wasting nothing and a cultural nod as well. The Norwegians use brown cheese in stews, on vegetables, and even spread over fresh waffles with tea and coffee.
The Aalan Gård farm raises goats and sheep to produce the cheeses, which are sold both on-site and in partnerships with restaurants. The farm owners also handmake soaps, scented with herbs and flowers from a large garden; keep chickens and pigs; and partner with Lofoten Wool to sell traditional Norwegian wool products. Their operation is small, and the focus is tight. They've made a name for themselves by appealing to the traditionalists--and that ends up attracting tourists wanting to learn more too.
Sometimes sticking to what we know best is the right course of action. So often, business owners are advised to think "outside of the box;" and while there is a time and place for that, Alan Gård is a great example of why to simply do what works and has always worked.
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