“It’s like a mixture of yeast and Roquefort,”
July 28, 2016 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Divers in Sweden Sniff Out 340-Year-Old Shipwrecked Cheese [The Guardian] Divers exploring a historic royal shipwreck off the south-east coast of Sweden have discovered what they believe is probably a chunk of exceedingly smelly, 340-year-old cheese. “We’re pretty sure it’s some kind of dairy product, butter or cheese,” said Kalmar county museum’s Lars Einarsson, who is in charge of the dive on the wreck of the Kronan, a 126-gun warship that sank in 1676. “It’s like a mixture of yeast and Roquefort, a sort of really ripe, unpasteurised cheese,” Einarsson told local media. He added that, while he was partial to cheeses “whose character lives on in their smell”, this one was “probably not for everyone”.
posted by Fizz (26 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Should we eat this?
posted by chavenet at 10:07 AM on July 28, 2016 [17 favorites]


Does anyone know if this kind of bacteria can be utilized in any kind of way? For food, for science, etc? I don't know too much about this kind of stuff, but I would guess that bacteria from that long ago would be very different from today. Or maybe I'm completely off and the fundamental make-up of bacteria has not changed in all that time.

*waits patiently for MetaFilter Scientist to come in and explain stuff*
posted by Fizz at 10:08 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cheese really is milk's leap towards immortality!
posted by delicious-luncheon at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


This calls for water crackers.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


I was really trying to figure out how a diver would 'sniff out' cheese without drowning.
posted by Splunge at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a Dane I should probably make some sort of joke about Västerbotten cheese here, but really, this is awesome. I love when organic materials survive despite all odds.
posted by kariebookish at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jeff Goldblum looks askance at this idea.
posted by Etrigan at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2016


The malodorous find was unveiled earlier this week along with a number of other discoveries from a two-week exploration of the wreck, including 14 gold coins, a diamond ring and a significant quantity of 17th-century pharmaceuticals.
"Hey how many of those containers that said 'OPIVM' were in there?"
"Oh uh a ... significant quantity"
"So maybe 20? 25?"
"Yeah, twenty fi...twenty. Twenty containers."
posted by griphus at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


Proof that scientists are just people like you and me: they'll eat anything they find in an ancient cave/tomb/under the sea, just for the experience.

Scientists have so far eaten ancient Egyptian tomb honey (good once they re-liquefied it), ancient cave beans (now for sale via that heritage beans catalog), grown and ate some ancient wheat (fine, just a nice wheat), and now they're eating under-the-sea ancient dairy (acquired taste I guess?) Which is what I would do, if I thought it wouldn't poison me. Scientists: they're just like us!
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:18 AM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


(divers motion to each other)
Look, a sealed jug.
Get it to the surface. Maybe it's gold or some other valuable treasure!

(divers surface, enter boat)
Quick, pry off the lid. This could be what we've been searching for!

(divers recoil in utter disgust)

SPOILED MILK
posted by BlueHorse at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


griphus, what would anyone even do with ten containers of OPIVM?!
posted by Fizz at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Should we eat this?
I certainly don’t recommend tasting it. It’s a mass of bacteria.
Y'know, totally different from most stinky cheese.
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


For the love of God, don't let the county museum's resident librarian anywhere near this.
posted by Wordshore at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Scientists have so far eaten...

Also, bog butter. There's a video clip out there where Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods eats some on camera.
posted by XMLicious at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


No discussion of fragrant fromage should be considered complete until Jerome K. Jerome has weighed in...
posted by jim in austin at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2016


Under the sea!
Under the sea!
Everything's breezy, have you some cheesy, take it from me.
What have they got, a bunch of brie?
We have a snack from 1603*
Everything's better when you have cheddar
From under the sea!

*yes, I know, it's not the right date, but artistic license.
posted by xingcat at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2016 [19 favorites]


Jeff Goldblum looks askance at this idea.

Cheese, uh...finds a way.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:39 AM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


This should go well when paired with lutefisk and fed to unsuspecting tourists.
posted by happyroach at 10:49 AM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Never again will I doubt the 5 second rule.
posted by yoga at 10:50 AM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was rooting around in the used cheese section* at the grocery store the other day, and I picked up a little piece of Roquefort or something, and a man standing off to the side said, "Hey, is that STINKY?" holding his nose for emphasis. His companion rolled her eyes and said, "He's Japanese. He is always making fun of cheese."

So I told him about some gross cheeses I have enjoyed, and for a minute or so, we were laughing about stinky cheeses like eight year olds laugh at farts. Maybe I'll print this out in case I run into him again.

* Technically, the discounted cheese, but I am assuming that's why it's discounted.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


ernielundquist, you should also tell him that cheese connoisseurs are also called 'turophiles'. It's one of my favourite words.
posted by Fizz at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Cheese, uh...finds a way.

And before you know it, they've, uh, found it , and opened it ...those divers were so preoccupied with whether they could eat it they didn't stop to consider whether they should
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:15 AM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Note that there's a photo on the other side of the Einarsson told Kvällsposten link. I think I'll stick to the Västerbotten.
posted by effbot at 11:30 AM on July 28, 2016


When a scuba diver, someone by definition familiar with what is produced by the combination of neoprene, salt water, and urine, describes a smell as "not for everyone", then... well, it probably really doesn't smell all that great.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fizz: "griphus, what would anyone even do with ten containers of OPIVM?!"

Call me.
posted by Splunge at 3:56 PM on July 29, 2016


"I was really trying to figure out how a diver would 'sniff out' cheese without drowning."

Speaking for myself (though I've never gone looking for cheese): take the regulator out of your mouth and sip a little water. Put the regulator back in and gently inhale so the water in your mouth slurps and gurgles but doesn't go down your windpipe. Smell that sea air.

Honestly since there's always a bit of water that gets in your mouth when diving this all gets to be second-nature. What really feels weird is diving in fresh water that's clean enough to drink, and doing just that mid-dive. It feels strange to just open your mouth underwater and make like a fish.
posted by traveler_ at 4:05 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


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