The documentary about Västerbottensost from 2008 is based on interviews with inhabitants of Burträsk who share their ideas about how the cheese was first made. Since there were real people and not actors in front of the camera, the feeling was genuine and the film received great acclaim.
We had a chat with Mattias Renström, a 35-year old stonemason from Åbyn outside of Burträsk. He was involved in the film and told us his own theory that the secret is that the cheese has become accustomed to the inhabitants of Burträsk.
How did it go with the filming?
It was great fun because I’d never been involved in the film industry. It took almost a day to film my part, which was just seconds long. Since I’m vice chairman of the car club here in the village, they wanted to have cars in the film in some way, so that’s why we stood beside my half-finished car. They asked me a number of questions, it was all about why the cheese is as good as it is. There was no clear script, I could say what I thought.
Did you present more theories than were included in the film?
No, I think I was consistent with all my answers.
What do you think of the final result?
The film was really good. I’m happy with both my effort and the final result and I’ve not heard anyone say it was bad. It was also fun that it was shown on so many different TV channels so that everyone could see it.
“The secret behind Västerbottensost must be in the location. Burträsk residents have it in their bones.”
In the film, your theory is that the cheese has a distinctive flavour because it has got used to the inhabitants of Burträsk working with it. Why do you think that?
There are so many theories flying around and many of them could be true. But tests have been done and it’s just not possible to make it anywhere else. There must be something about the place. Something that happens where it’s made. The skill has been passed down, people from Burträsk have it in their blood. It’s also to do with the conditions around here, like our milk. And of course it’s also to do with the secret recipe, a lot of things about the cheese are hush-hush.
When and where did you hear the theory about people from Burträsk handling the cheese?
I invented it there and then, but the outline has always been there. There’s so much talk and myths. A lot of which is top secret.
Do a lot of people from Burträsk believe it?
I think many people think logically like me, that it’s the raw materials available here and a special recipe. But if you asked around Burträsk, you’d get as many answers as there are people.
How often do you eat Västerbottensost? What do you think of it?
It’s a delicacy, you don’t eat if every day, only on special occasions. It’s fantastic. It has a sort of special flavour which you can’t find anywhere else. It’s perfect.