One of my absolute favorite foods while traveling in Sweden was räkost.
I first saw it one morning, at breakfast, while staying with a family in Sweden. It sat right next to the bowl of pickeled herring and cheese, and long with a stack of Wasa sesame knäckebröd.
I sat looking at the collection of interesting items being served to me for breakfast. As a kid that only knew fried fish sticks as the only way to eat fish, the idea of the picked herring wasn't going to happen. I asked my host family what they recommended. The told me to squeeze the tube onto the cracker, and try it out.
But it was the beginning of a passion that I continue to this day. It was cheesey. A little salty. But wow. There was something addictive to it! (To see how my taste buds responded - take a look at this video: http://youtu.be/xbdWoBydhSU
Räkost is a word that basically combines the words of shrimp and cheese. Blend that together, and you get a savory akin to cheese whiz. Spread that on a cracker - and I think you have heaven.
That became my breakfast staple in while traveling in Sweden. Often, families would ask us, "What do you like for breakast." While my roommates hinted at items like pancakes (what? For breakast? Not in Sweden), or musli, I always shyly smiled, and asked, "Do you by chance have any Rack-Ost?" And sure enough - if not that morning, then the next morning, I would get my tube of shrimp cheese. And whenever possible, my favorite version of Wasa - the crisp sesame version, made it the perfect match.
In my recent excursion to the grocery department of IKEA, I was excited to see a version of räkost. While not from shrimp, crab was certainly close enough. Over the last nights, I have been adding it to both crisp bread as well as to some really delicious cardamom crisps that give a slightly sweet, yet savory crunch to the appetizer.
And each time I take a bite, I whisper the word "räkost" - just because it sounds fun to say.