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Norwegian Cheese

March 4, 2011
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Having lived in the Dairy State for the past thirteen years of my life, I know good cheese. “Ost,” the Norwegian word for “cheese,” is a specialty export here. This post will serve as a guide to the main types of ost in Norway.

In Bø, I have not been able to buy my favorite cheeses from back home. The grocery stores do not offer a wide selection, and there are no specialty shops here. That means there is no cheddar, provolone, American, pepper jack, colby, or swiss. I have found mozzarella, but the only cheddar I’ve seen was shredded and mixed with Norwegian cheeses in an expensive “pizza ost” pack. Thus, I had to try all of the Norwegian cheeses to find a new one that I could enjoy on my sandwiches.

Here you will find a list of the top three Norwegian cheeses with links to their relating Wikipedia articles:

1. Brunost (gjetost)

This is the Norwegian “brown cheese.” It is made from caramelized goat’s milk that gives it its signature sweet, mild flavor. This is a popular breakfast cheese, but I do not particularly enjoy it at any time of day. It doesn’t really taste like cheese, but I would not classify it as a sweet treat either. Brunost is just confusing, and my taste buds don’t know what to think or how to react.

2. Norvegia

This is the second cheese I tried in Norway. It is similar to gouda, but it has that “stinky cheese” odor that I usually try to avoid. Most people find this to be a mild flavored cheese that pairs well with sandwiches at any time of the day. However, I simply do not like it. It has a strange after-taste that I have trouble describing. In addition, it makes awful quesadillas and grilled cheese. This ost is much better served cold, in my opinion.

3. Jarlsberg.

Ah, Jarlsberg. This is my favorite Norwegian cheese. It is similar to swiss, but it has a nuttier, sweeter flavor. It is the perfect cheese for my matpakke (packed lunch) because the flavor seems to compliment my bread and meat well without the after-taste left in my mouth by Norvegia. This is the only cheese I’ve enjoyed snacking on, and it is probably the only one I will miss when I return to the US. For those who are interested, Jarlsberg is one of Norway’s most popular exports, so you may even be able to find it at your local grocer! I highly recommend the splurge if you can find it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. nanswa permalink
    March 4, 2011 9:35 pm

    Right now I could go for some Mullins white cheddar curds! mmmmmmmmmmmm.

    I would like to give the Brunost a try. Bet it would be good on apples! Do they make the cheese all over Norway? Might be fun to take a tour of a Norwegian cheese mfgr.

  2. Frank H. Larson permalink
    March 16, 2011 1:55 pm

    Mullins has Jarlsberg and it is on the high end price wise but I get some every once in a while as a treat. The carmelized goat cheese you mentioned was one of my favorites when visiting my grandparents. I loved it with applesauce or apple pie. It is also very good with salmon or trout. I still have relatives in Norway so it is fun following your blog.

    • March 18, 2011 7:17 pm

      I will definitely have to get some Jarlsberg at Mullins when I get back…it’s so good! I think I definitely have to acquire a taste for the brown cheese, but I’m getting more used to it. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  3. kaja permalink
    January 22, 2012 6:04 pm

    NORVEIGAAAAAA <3<3<3<3<3<3 the best cheese ever!

  4. Dianne Refsland permalink
    March 12, 2012 8:34 pm

    I am looking for a Norwegian Cheese but don’t know how to spell the name it sounds like Knjerlost I used to buy it at the Cheese Store in Succasunna NJj but they closed

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