Visit Norway- Oro Restaurant & Chef Terje Ness plus a #JarlsbergUSA Cheese Giveaway

There’s a lot on our plate today. Including a Jarlsberg Giveaway. So strap yourself in and pay attention…

The idea for the giveaway came to me after an amazing dining experience In Oslo. Just to warn you, I’m going to use a lot of words that may challenge my English speaking audience. But power through and stay strapped in. Most of these words are names, so with that in mind it shouldn’t be too hard to follow along.

Terje Ness.

The first name I want to throw at you is, Terje Ness. He is a chef in Oslo, and currently helms two excellent restaurants there. The Michelin starred restaurant Haga, in the suburb of Bærum and Oro Restaurant in Oslo proper­– Oro is where I ate and is the subject of my story today. Michelin has also bestowed a BibGourmand distinction on Oro, so he now can boast two levels of Michelin excellence.

Chef Terje Ness came to super-prominence in 1999 as the winner of the Bocuse d’Or (the biennial “culinary Olympics” held in Lyon, France). Winning the Bocuse d’Or is an amazing accomplishment. But it’s just one of Herr Ness‘ accomplishments. Because he got quite a start on his professional career by working at Eyvind Hellstrøm’s (yep, that’s a name) famous double Michelin starred Oslo restaurant Bagatelle.

Bagatelle has closed, but Eyvind Hellstrøm introduced the Nordic set to the art of French cooking and is largely credited with changing the way Norwegian’s look at food and fine dining. How he did that I cannot say. So I’ll let him say it for himself.

“When I started at Bagatelle in 1982, Norwegians had no idea they possessed the world’s best salmon! They were unaware that the whole world was ready to import their coquilles Saint-Jacques, their halibut, fresh cod, king crab, turbot, langoustines, mussels, not to mention the game, reindeer, venison and snow partridge.”

So you see the hero in my story (Terje Ness) benefited from his time at Bagatelle. In fact it could be argued that the precise balance of sincerity, purity, freshness, and intensity of flavors I experienced at Oro were developed under Chef Hellstrøm.

Our menu started at the front door where we were greeted with glasses of Blanc de Blanc Champagne from Jean Milan chosen by Sommelier Stefano Pagani. Sea scallops came out first and they were served with Jerusalem artichokes and oranges. This was followed by Pasta Jarlsberg. The main course was cod with morel mushrooms and red wine. A big selection of cheeses was offered with a variety of French choices as well as a mature Norwegian reserve Jarlsberg. Pineapple with bitter chocolate finished the excellent meal.

Terje Ness cardSo after a meal like that and knowing all I know about the chef Terje Ness, you can imagine how excited I was to actually get to meet the man. But when he came up to our table to say hello, I kinda choked. I found myself having a discussion about the cooking temperature of his fish (about 150 degrees F). Which for me was a thrilling moment, but I can’t help but think how it must have bored him to tears. Oh well, I’ll admit I was a little star struck. I didn’t even think to get his picture. But I did get his card. Which is almost as good, right?

But I have more super-stars to discuss with you. TINE SA, which is the largest dairy cooperative in Norway, hosted this marvelous meal. TINE’s responsible for bringing Jarlsberg cheese to an international audience. It seems they did a good job huh? ‘Cuz I know you know Jarlsberg!

JARLSBERGThe folks at Oro did a special thing for us too. Another of the chefs there, Are Nordtvedt (another name) developed the pasta course specifically for our meal using Jarlsberg cheese and silky soft fresh angel hair pasta. I am proud to pass that recipe onto you because there are a couple of good cooking techniques in this seemingly simple recipe. The first trick is the butter sauce. It only has 2 ingredients: Butter & Water. But notice that the water comes directly from the pasta pot. That’s because the starch in that water (from cooking the pasta) helps thicken the melting butter– making it luxuriously silky.

The other secret also leads to a smooth texture in the sauce. Have you ever noticed when you try to melt cheese onto pasta that sometimes it gets stringy? To avoid that problem in this recipe it’s important to add the butter sauce to the hot noodles, tossing them well before you add the grated cheese. With this Jalsberg Cheese Giveawaymethod I promise no clumping. I don’t know why, but it’s the sure fire trick to any silky smooth cheese sauce.

Now I know you want to make this pasta at home, right? So how about a huge hunk of Jarlsberg to help you do it? And not just Jarlsberg cheese, but 2 Ski Queen brown cheese packages and 3 creamy containers of Snøfrisk too. As well as a slate cheese board, a decorative cheese knife, a special notebook for recording your journey into cheese and more. Well, leave a comment here and you can be entered in a video drawing to win all these cheesy goodies. Go to Jarlsberg’s Facebook page and like it (then leave a message there letting us know you did) and you’ll get another entry. Same goes for the Sippity Sup Facebook page and if you feel like tweeting this contest use the hashtag #JarlsbergUSA for yet another entry. There’s a short-cut Twitter button for just that purpose at the top of the page. Continental U.S. only 🙁

Winner announced here via “live” video drawing July 25, 2011.

Pasta Jarlsberg serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 lb fresh angel hair pasta
  • 10 T unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c jarlsberg cheese, grated
  • 2 T fresh chervil, minced
  • salt & white pepper as needed

pasta jarlsbergBring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir to ensure that it doesn’t stick. Cook until done to your liking, about 3 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter over medium-high, swirling the pan to keep the butter from getting brown. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water directly from the pot. Cook stirring until it begins to thicken. About 3–5 minutes.

Drain the pasta (reserving some of the pasta water) and move it to a serving bowl. Toss the pasta with the butter sauce to coat thoroughly. Add the grated Jarlsberg cheese and the minced chervil. Toss well, until the cheese melts and gets creamy. Add some of the reserved pasta water only if necessary. Season with salt and white pepper. Serve warm.


Greg Henry

Sippity Sup

Terje Ness