One of the world’s best cheeses is made in a village of only 200 inhabitants in the middle of Norway. In a yellow cheese house by the E6 road Carlos Helguera and his colleagues make the award-winning and artisan “Gammel Erik” cheese.


Scroll down to learn more about cheesemaker Carlos and their artisanal production.

Gammel Erik is one of the best cheeses in the world. Photo:
Fotoknott/ Visit Namdalen

Award-winning cheese

“Gammel Erik vellagret” has been awarded the Norwegian “Spesialitetsmerket”, meaning it has been certified as some of the best local food in Norway, made with a unique recipe and by talented craftsmen, in this case, cheesemakers. Cheese from Elvekanten Ysteri has also won Gold in the World Cheese Awards  2019-20 and Super Gold in World Cheese Awards 2018-19.

Getting that kind of confirmation that we are doing something right inspires us to continue making our cheese. We always try to adapt the product, and developing it, making it better and better. Frida (cheesemaker) and I enjoy what we do and that fuels us. And meeting customers who enjoy our cheese. That also inspires us.

Making cheese with local ingredients

Carlos gets his milk from a farm in the area. He makes a point out of using locally sourced milk because quality ingredients are vital to making good cheese. And plenty of time. Making artisan cheese takes time. The cheese matures in storage for months, some, like his award-winning cheese, is matured for at least 10 months.

Elvekanten Ysteri makes four speciality cheeses, one with wild garlic/ramson, one with cumin and two neutral ones. The cheeses are all a type of gouda.

Photo: Silje Kolaas / Oi Trøndersk Mat

Passion for local food

Life is a serious of coincidences and it was pretty coincidental that I became a cheesemaker. Today a bit of my soul is in the cheese I make. A lot of pride, identity and accuracy too.

Carlos and the mayor at Trøndersk Matfestival. Photo: Silje Kolaas / Oi Trøndersk Mat

We have gotten plenty of support on our journey, from Innovation Norway, local supporters, COOP, Norgesgruppen and others who all value Norwegian food culture and craftsmanship. Last year the mayor of Namsskogan even joined us on stand at Trøndersk Matfestival, and the prime minister got to try our product.

When we ask Carlos how cheese is best served his answer is clear.

– It’s with the right people around me, a good community, hosts, nice talks and other local ingredients served alongside it. Food is a community-builder.

Gammel Erik cheese. Photo: Visit Namdalen

And how do you serve Gammel Erik?

I use it for everything; gratins, salads, as part of a charcuterie board with locally sourced meats and sourdough bread, on pizza and more.

Elvekanten Ysteri is certified as Producer as part of Trondheim – Trøndelag European Region of Gastronomy 2022.  The cheese can be bought in Namsskogan, in MENY and Coop Mega shops, at markets in Trøndelag and a range of local shops in Trøndelag.

More local food in Namdalen