World's largest inadvertent cheese fondue
January 23, 2013 11:02 PM   Subscribe

When a lorry transporting 27 tonnes of Norwegian cheese caught fire in the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, it kept burning for five days, with the tunnel still closed down for traffic. The cheese in question, Brunost, is made by slowly boiling (goats) milk, cream and whey together until the water evaporates and the milk sugar caramalises, which gives the cheese its brown colour. As the Norwegian fire services found out the hard way, its high fat and sugar contents also means it burns well. Something that might have come in useful during the Dutch cheese wars between Edam and Woerden, as immortalised in this commercial; Edammer cheese just couldn't get hot enough.
posted by MartinWisse (44 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've got a big block of brunost in my fridge right now. Delightful stuff.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:11 PM on January 23, 2013


I fought during the cheese wars because I thought I was fighting for the common gouda.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:18 PM on January 23, 2013 [33 favorites]


In the future, lorry drivers will be cautioned to drive more caerphilly.
posted by Avelwood at 11:22 PM on January 23, 2013 [23 favorites]


Instead you were Edammed if you do, Leerdammer if you don't.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:23 PM on January 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Hmm. Tarmac and cheese.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:28 PM on January 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Pictures and video can be found here.
posted by FreezBoy at 11:39 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's more tragic here. The loss of so much perfectly innocent cheese or the puns in this thread. I'm leaning toward the puns.
posted by philip-random at 11:40 PM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


We don't need no feta let the mother-rocca burn.

In before the pun-police.
posted by KMB at 11:45 PM on January 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


In the meantime, drivers will have to find another whey to go.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:48 PM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The article claims it's a delicacy. Can it be a delicacy if it's widely available and considered everyday fare?
posted by Harald74 at 11:49 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


What this story needs is a cheesy romance and we have a movie.
He was a truckdriver with a cargo of valuable, Brunost.
She was the over-performing fire chief with someone to prove in a man's world.....
posted by Mezentian at 11:57 PM on January 23, 2013


Browned/carmelized goat cheese sounds incredible... now to find some in Arizona... or someone who will ship. I bought this delightful gouda for the wife for Christmas and hoo-boy was it amazing.
posted by disillusioned at 12:05 AM on January 24, 2013


Not everyone eats burnt cheese but those who are fond do.
posted by islander at 12:14 AM on January 24, 2013 [25 favorites]


disillusioned, you can usually find brunost's close cousin gjetost at most grocery stores, especially the larger health food chains. In the west you usually see Ski Queen gjetost, which is a blend of cows and sheeps' milk or Tine ekte gjetost, which is only goats' milk. Both are wonderful things, so amazingly tasty.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:16 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The article claims it's a delicacy. Can it be a delicacy if it's widely available and considered everyday fare?

Of course. I present "tomato ketchup" for the defense.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:17 AM on January 24, 2013


OK, that's enough puns. You guys had better cheese it.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:27 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best not to keep milking the puns, no.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:33 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was indeed a Greve loss.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:36 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


BREAKING NEWS (Reuters): Norwegian police have determined the fire was not an accident but the work of curdish separatists.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:36 AM on January 24, 2013 [45 favorites]


Can't think of a good pun, feeling kind of bleu.
posted by Mezentian at 12:38 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't feel bad, just go have some morbier.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:41 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cheesus Christ, that tunnel is going to smell for such a long time.

I had some of this in Denmark and kind of did/kind of didn't like it. I thought I was enjoying it but quickly couldn't eat more and now I feel a bit sick when I think of it. Looking at the pics on Wikipedia make me go eww..
posted by estuardo at 1:14 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This seems quite the saga!
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:22 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since the article specifically says goat cheese, I would assume this is actually gjetost, or at least the part of the Venn diagram where gjetost and brunost overlap.

And yes, I bought myself some Ski Queen shortly after hearing this story yesterday.
posted by ckape at 1:41 AM on January 24, 2013


In the future, lorry drivers will be cautioned to drive more caerphilly.

The truck must have been a Chevre-let.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:44 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Damn your cheesy puns! Give me all of your toast points and crackers, I'm going in!
posted by loquacious at 1:57 AM on January 24, 2013


If you consult Wikipedia about Fondant - one of several kinds of icing-like substances used to decorate or sculpt pastries - they helpfully tell you, right at the top, that it's "Not to be confused with fondue."

I imagine that Wikipedia does this because it is a common mistake. I imagine scores of young couples, enraptured with soon-to-be-newlywed love, gazing into each other eyes, unable to focus on the minutiae of their wedding preparations, making that same simple mistake.

The wedding ends. The crowd assembles for the reception. There is feasting, then there are toasts, then more feasting. Then it is time for the wedding cake.

A beautiful wedding cake, but because someone forgot to do a simple Wikipedia check, the cake is covered with fondue instead of fondant.

Imagine everyone's mutual embarrassment, and the dark omen this portends for the couple.

Read Wikipedia people!
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:27 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


No-one was hurt, fortunately. It still reminds me of the Mont-Blanc disaster of 1999 which was caused by a similar fire (margarine and flour instead of cheese) and claimed 41 lives.
posted by elgilito at 2:42 AM on January 24, 2013


In Washington they pave the road with apples.
posted by loquacious at 2:47 AM on January 24, 2013


Norwegian Cheese Fire sounds like one of those randomly-generated band names.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Browned/carmelized goat cheese sounds incredible...

Try it on hot waffles. Hot, crispy waffles with slightly melted, sweet brunost, or even double folded waffles with butter and brunost. You know you want it.

(Btw, brunost tastes a bit like dulce de leche.)
posted by iviken at 2:59 AM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


When I saw this on the BBC, I decided to check what the Norwegian news media were saying about it. The first headline I found said something like 'foreigners obsess over brunost fire'.
posted by knapah at 3:17 AM on January 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'VE FOUND THE NEST!
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:07 AM on January 24, 2013


The BBC also noted the model of the truck that transported the cheese: turned out to be a Fjord Transit.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:11 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love brunost for one thin, small slice. After that I always try to eat more, and the sweetness just gets to me in a bad way.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:14 AM on January 24, 2013


It still reminds me of the Mont-Blanc disaster of 1999

Oh that's horrible. I wonder why they don't deal with this sort of tunnel fire by plugging both sides with foam or something, getting close enough to snuff out the fire by lack of oxygen. Or would the tunnel have ventilation to prevent that? Or maybe you could blow it out with explosives, like they do with oil rig fires.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:18 AM on January 24, 2013


Cheese is relevant to my interests.
posted by panaceanot at 4:43 AM on January 24, 2013


Here is Google Street View near the south entrance to the tunnel in question. It was a nice, sunny day in April when the Street View car passed. No sign of the cheese lorry, though.
posted by Harald74 at 5:04 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


A beautiful wedding cake, but because someone forgot to do a simple Wikipedia check, the cake is covered with fondue instead of fondant.

If the cakey bit was toast points, it would be a Welsh rarebit! And hence totally delicious, much better than nasty fondant-ruined cake.
posted by winna at 5:09 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder why they don't deal with this sort of tunnel fire by plugging both sides with foam or something, getting close enough to snuff out the fire by lack of oxygen.

The problem is that this would also "snuff out" everybody trapped inside.

Or would the tunnel have ventilation to prevent that?

The ventilation was part of the problem in the Mont Blanc fire, blowing the smoke towards the victims.

Or maybe you could blow it out with explosives, like they do with oil rig fires.

Again, you'd obviously have to evacuate everybody first. And repairing the tunnel afterwards would be sort of tricky.

Tunnel fires are no joke. They're pretty much one of the most nightmarish situations you or any firefighter may find yourselves confronted with. Basically, no matter what you do, they're going to rage on until the fire runs out of fuel, oxygen or both. The best thing you can do to about them is to prepare everything to be able to evacuate the tunnel completely within minutes. That was what failed in the Mont Blanc tunnel.
posted by Skeptic at 5:29 AM on January 24, 2013


Saganaki!
posted by pjern at 6:29 AM on January 24, 2013


The problem is that this would also "snuff out" everybody trapped inside.

It looks like everyone was already dead like 15 minutes into the fire. At that point you can only hope to stop the spread.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:06 AM on January 24, 2013


It looks like everyone was already dead like 15 minutes into the fire.

"18.35, 7 hours 48 minutes after ignition started

An french fireengine manages to save the 6 people in the sheltered room at #17 taking extreme high risks.

At this moment it was clear to everyone that nobody still inside could be alive."
posted by MuffinMan at 7:12 AM on January 24, 2013


"I wonder why they don't deal with this sort of tunnel fire by plugging both sides with foam or something, getting close enough to snuff out the fire by lack of oxygen. "

Or rolling up a dump truck full of waffles. I imagine this burning cheese might have smelled divine. (Sorry about your tunnel)
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:13 AM on January 24, 2013


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