Äggost (meaning “egg cheese”) is the Bohuslän province’s most distinct and traditional dish. The Bohuslän province is located on the western coasts of Sweden, where villages, each with its very own unique charm, form like an archipelago on smooth granite cliffs. In earlier centuries Äggost was even produced in Southern and Central Sweden, Western Finland, parts of the Baltic countries and, to a certain extent, in Norway.
For a long time all over the province many different recipes and methods have coexisted but it usually consists of eggs, milk, buttermilk and sugar. Ideally it should be made in an elaborately carved wooden mould with holes in it. Nowadays, tin moulds are commonly used and even plastic moulds. It is also possible to use a strainer. Äggost should be prepared using raw milk.
Raw milk indeed, as used in former days, turned sour and curdled, instead of rotting like pasteurized or homogenized milk do. It was valuable soured milk that could be used in the household in many different ways. The texture was firm – like cottage cheese, and the farmers could conserve the milk during the winter when the cows produced less, using two methods – they could either make butter or milk. They would let it sour, and curdled milk would flow off through a scrim, which is said to be the origin of Äggost.
The best-known historical occasion when Äggost was served dates back to 1650 for the coronation of Queen Christina. As time went by, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it became the most common dish for the peasantry to bring to feasts. Äggost in Bohuslän is thus traditionally served on special occasions such as Christmas, weddings, funerals or Christenings. It can be served with cured herring, although it is equally common as a dessert served with blackberry jam, or garnished with sugar and cinnamon.
The dish is not produced industrially, but is only prepared for home consumption. It is therefore impossible to estimate the volume produced. The homes that carry on the tradition today prepare the specialty to serve during Christmas, Midsummer and Easter. In this region it is also a common dish on the Smorgasbord, traditional Swedish buffet of cold dishes. Most of the time it is the older people who maintain the tradition of making Äggost. As the knowledge goes away with them there is a risk that the new generations gradually lose the mere knowledge of existence of this specialty.