At Olestølen, you can learn how to milk goats by hand and make white and brown goat cheese the old-fashioned way. You can also sign up for a hiking trip in the mountains or simply just enjoy real comfort food in fantastically beautiful surroundings. Ducks, hens, goats and horses - here the experiences are lined up!
- What kind of milk have you milked? Landlord Kathrin Hofmann Aslaksby looks smilingly out of the window in the Mikroysteriet while she continues to stir the ice vat. - This one is full of cheese pieces!
The little boys on the outside cast long, uncomprehending glances back. Less than an hour ago, they were milking the goats by hand. Now the cheese making process is already in full swing. -Thanks to added cheese curd, the milk has already coagulated, she explains. - Come back in fifteen minutes and you will see what has happened to the milk then.
It is early morning at Olestølen. The sun is shining on dew-fresh grass and inside the cheese factory, production is already in full swing. Milking starts at 6 and as part of the herd adventure, you can stay in your own cabin belonging to the herd and take part in both milking and morning care. You can also book a course where you yourself join in and make cheese in a wood-fired iron pot according to rich støl traditions.
Ski maker and shop owner
When Kathrin and Thomas Aslaksby bought the farm Nørrestogo in 2006, Olestølen came along. He wanted to continue as a ski maker, - she wanted to start making raw milk based on centuries-old seater traditions. The result was a mobile and self-furnished micro-ice factory that is transported up to the stable as soon as the weather and temperature allow. The dairy measures 2.5 x 5.5 meters and must be one of the smallest in the world. In addition, it serves as a sales point for Stølen's products.
Through the windows in the cheese arch, you can follow the cheese production up close and Kathrin willingly and enthusiastically explains both the cheese traditions and the cheese making process itself. At regular intervals, she also takes visitors on a greeting tour to the place's two- and four-legged friends. The livestock also includes ducks, horses, chickens and cats.
Traditions worthy of protection
Behind the fence, sane Icelandic horses graze, whose task is both to keep the grass down and to carry hooves on trips in the mountain home. Kløving is an old way of transporting cargo and from Olestølen you can join the trip up to Oleskaret with a view over Vinstravatnet and far inland to majestic Jotunheimen.
- We started with five goats, says Kathrin - Gradually we have built up and adapted production to demand. Today, the herd numbers 35 dairy goats. Every Wednesday we fire up the wood-fired iron pot and cheese brown goat's cheese in true artisanal fashion. In addition, we organize our own cheese courses, among other things, for young people.
- It is important to take care of a craft tradition such as cheese making, she emphasizes. - We have already missed two generations of oystermen. When the milk truck arrived, it was easy to send the milk away. For several hundred years, stilt farming was a central part of Norwegian agriculture with around 100,000 farms around the country. Now we are only just over 900 active chairs again.
The boys are back again and curiously peeking in through the window. - There you are again, yes, she exclaims and laughs happily. - Now you will see! She shows the goat's milk which has solidified and can now be cut with a knife. -Milk is a wonderful raw material, she assures. Think of what you milked, we can make butter, white and brown goat's cheese, chevre, yogurt and sour cream. We make nine different products here at the stølen.
Milking, cheese making, visits, forwarding, courses and guiding. You have long and intense days. What is the driving force?
-Making cheese is something you do because you can't help it, it comes in cash. -The goal and driving force are two-fold: - To make quality cheeses on par with "Manchego" from raw goat's milk from a small stable in Valdres where the goats roam freely day and night and harvest herbs and grass from the mountains. It is also just as much about the value of taking care of dying craft traditions, using the natural resources in the mountains and passing these on.
Many people hardly know where the milk comes from. Here they can follow the process through to finished products and can taste and experience what a wonderful raw material milk is. And people find it exciting! There is something about understanding nature and being close to animals that makes us feel good.
In addition, life on the stolen gives a very special sense of calm. I myself like to start the day with an hour's walk in the mountains. The evening ends on the embankment with the horses. I like working at the intersection between nature and culture. Ideally, I would have lived this sedentary life all year round, assures the butler at Olestølen and casts long glances away at the goats who have peacefully started the day's hunt for more grass.
Olestølen is beautifully located by Lake Olevatn in Øystre Slidre, 15 minutes north-east of Beitostølen and 40 minutes north of Fagernes, along Olevegen (toll road).
Here there is a farm sale and the opportunity to participate in cheese courses and foraging tours. In addition to white and brown goat's cheese, matured cream cheese (Chevre), cream cheese, salad cheese, yoghurt, sour milk, butter and sour cream are also produced. The goat's meat is used to make real "kurv", which is a geographically protected term for cured sausage from Valdres.
You can rent a cabin belonging to the stølen itself and follow the seater's life up close.
Here there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, paddling and hiking and, not least, making close contact with the animals on the stølen.
Telephone: Landlord Kathrin Hofmann Aslaksby 918 89 806
Beitostølen is a fifteen-minute drive away and offers activities for children and adults of all age groups. Besseggen, rafting in mountain waters, guided canoe trips, climbing, trips on horseback, spa and wellness. Check more at beitostolen.com
Byline: Trude Henrichsen