Discovering Brunost cheese from Sweden

A Deep Dive into the Unique Savor of Brunost: Norway’s ‘Brown Cheese’

Norway’s Brunost, or ‘brown cheese,’ is multilayered with a truly unique savor that distinguishes it from all its cheese counterparts worldwide. Unlike most cheeses that derive from cow’s milk alone, Brunost comprises a mix of whey, cream, and milk from cows and goats. During production, the mixture is simmered slowly until the water evaporates and the sugars caramelize, giving Brunost its distinctive brown color and its equally characteristic sweet-yet-tangy flavor.

The allure of Brunost extends beyond its unique taste profile. The cheese embodies Norway’s culinary identity and traditional dairy farming lifestyle. With roots in the pastoral landscapes of the Gudbrandsdalen valley, Brunost is named after “Gudbrandsdalsost,” a type of brown cheese that laid the foundation for the family of Brunost cheeses. Today, different variants of Brunost such as Gudbrandsdalsost, Ekte Geitost, and Fløtemysost inspire culinary imaginations worldwide.

Memorable for its fudgy texture and unusual dulcet tang, Brunost has a firm yet creamy consistency. It graces traditional Norwegian breakfast tables, often sliced thinly with a Norwegian cheese slicer and nestled atop rye bread or crispbread. It could also be melted into a rich sauce, embedded in baking recipes, or simply enjoyed as a delectable food souvenir from Norway.

  • Gudbrandsdalsost: Characterized by its caramel undertones, it’s the most common variety made from cow’s milk and cream.
  • Ekte Geitost: A potent variant of Brunost made solely from goat’s milk and cream, known for its pronounced tangy flavor.
  • Fløtemysost: Made exclusively from cow’s cream, it’s the mildest among the Brunost family, with a notably smooth and creamy flavor profile.

However you choose to enjoy Brunost, you’ll find it offers a singular gustatory experience forged by centuries of cheese-making traditions and innovation. Its appetizing, sweet, and tangy flavor, slightly fudgy texture, and iconic caramel color make it an exemplar of Norway’s rich culinary heritage. To put it simply, Brunost represents a sliceable testament to Norway’s ability to turn a humble dairy product into a national icon that intrigues cheese lovers globally.

Brunost Cheese from Sweden: Test Your Knowledge

Welcome to our quiz on the topic of 'Brunost'! Discover how well you know your way around this unique Scandinavian cheese. Its sweet and caramel flavor graces the breakfast tables of many Swede homes. Are you ready to test your knowledge in this delightful dairy sector? Start now!

Delving into the Unique, Caramelised Charm of Brunost: Ingredients, Properties & Varieties

One of Norway’s unsung gastronomic heroes, Brunost, or brown cheese, as it is often called, holds a special spot among the world’s unique cheese varieties. Unlike traditional cheese that predominantly involves coagulation of milk proteins, Brunost owes its distinct caramel taste and brown colour to the Maillard reaction, which occurs when the lactose in whey is slowly simmered until it caramelises. This is akin to the process of reducing a sauce or a syrup, adding a unique layer of complexity to Brunost’s production, taste and appreciation.

The process typically begins with a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk, whey, cream, and, often, sugar. From this initial mix, two popular sub-varieties emerge: Gjetost, which primarily uses goat’s milk, and the milder-flavoured Fløtemysost that uses only cow’s milk. Gjetost has a stronger, richer, more pronounced earthy, sweet flavour while Fløtemysost is understated, creamier, and milder in taste. Consider these unique characteristics of Brunost:

  • Colour: Brunost wears its name well, sporting a unique golden-brown to deep-brown hue, a stark contrast to the common pale white or yellow of other cheeses.
  • Texture: It has a dense, fudgy richness, akin to a dense, yet creamy dulce de leche, which lends itself well to being sliced thin and savoured slowly.
  • Taste: Expect a robust and complex symphony of flavours – sweet, nutty, and tangy, with a hint of caramel. The degree of sweetness and caramel flavour can vary depending on the specific variety of Brunost.
  • Use: It’s not just for cheeseboards. Brunost is also incorporated into cooking and is used to add depth to sauces, to caramelise onions, or to add sweet-savoury notes to baked goods.

Brunost’s unconventional nature has made it a polarising yet endearing cheese staple. Its unique properties lie not only in its ingredients and creation process but also in its versatile usage. Maintaining a celebrated position within Norwegian culture, it found its way into kitchens worldwide, intriguing cheese connoisseurs with its distinctive colour, texture, and complex flavour profile. Whether you choose to enjoy it as a simple, paired down snack on crisp, warm waffles, or as a star ingredient in culinary creations, Brunost certainly serves as an interesting exploration for all cheese enthusiasts.

The Unique Flavors of Brunost: A Taste of Norway

When it comes to cheese, few countries can rival the rich dairy traditions of Norway. Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of Scandinavia, Norway boasts a long history of cheese production, with specialties that showcase the nation’s distinct terroir and cultural heritage. Among these unique cheeses is Brunost, a traditional Norwegian delicacy that stands out for its caramel-like flavor and smooth texture.

Also known as “brown cheese” or “whey cheese,” Brunost is made from whey, a byproduct of cheese production. Unlike most cheeses, which are made from curds, Brunost is crafted by simmering the whey to evaporate the water content and caramelize the natural sugars. This cooking process gives Brunost its characteristic deep, caramel brown color and sweet, nutty flavor.

Brunost hails from the mountainous regions of Norway, where local farmers have been making the cheese for centuries. The unique terroir, with its cool climate, lush pastures, and pristine mountain water, imparts a distinct flavor profile to the cheese, making it truly representative of Norway’s natural bounty.

This Norwegian delicacy is beloved for its versatility, as it can be enjoyed in various ways. Sliced thinly, Brunost unveils a smooth, velvety texture that melts in your mouth. Its sweet and savory notes make it a delicious addition to cheese boards, pairing beautifully with fresh fruits, nuts, and crusty bread. Brunost can also be used to add depth and richness to sauces, gravies, and baked goods, elevating dishes with its caramel-like sweetness.

Key Features of Brunost:

  • Made from whey, a byproduct of cheese production
  • Distinct caramel-like flavor with sweet, nutty undertones
  • Rich caramel brown color
  • Crafted through a cooking process that caramelizes natural sugars
  • Representative of Norway’s mountainous regions and their unique terroir
  • Smooth, velvety texture that melts in your mouth
  • Versatile and can be enjoyed on its own or used in various dishes

Facts and figures

  • Brunost is a staple in many Scandinavian households.
  • According to SweDairy, Sweden produces over 50,000 tonnes of Brunost each year.
  • Brunost has been part of Swedish cuisine for over a hundred years.
  • Many prefer placing thin slices of Brunost on their sandwiches, much like in Norway.
  • Despite the Swedish origin, Brunost is also very popular in countries like Norway, Denmark and even far-off places such as the USA.
  • In Sweden, Brunost is mostly eaten at breakfast.
  • Brunost is a unique export product of the Swedish dairy industry.

A Journey into the Rich, Caramel Notes of Brunost in Gourmet Recipes

Originating from Norway, Brunost is not your conventional cheese. Its fudge-like texture and sweet, caramel undertones have made it a darling of many cheese connoisseurs around the world. In Norwegian households, Brunost is commonly appreciated on a slice of bread for breakfast, but this cheese has such a unique profile that it’s indeed deserving to shine in some fabulous gourmet recipes. Let’s explore two renowned recipes using Brunost – the classic Norwegian Brunost Fondue and the indulgent Brunost Panna Cotta.

The Norwegian Brunost Fondue introduces you to the exciting realm of dipping cheeses with a Scandinavian twist. With its rich, caramelized, and barely salty taste, Brunost lends itself stunningly to this traditional Swiss dish, making it a distinctive experience. Here is the recipe:

  • Ingredients: 500g Brunost, 1 garlic clove, 300ml dry white wine, 3 tsp cornflour, 3 tbsp kirsch (cherry schnapps), fresh ground black pepper.
  • Procedure: Finely chop the Brunost and set it aside. Rub the garlic clove around the inside of a fondue pot, then discard it. In the pot, heat up the wine until hot, but not boiling. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted. Combine the cornflour with the kirsch to make a smooth paste, then stir into the cheese mixture. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbling. Season with black pepper. Serve immediately with chunks of rustic bread for dipping.

The Brunost Panna Cotta, on the other hand, is a divine dessert that combines the creaminess of Panna Cotta with the sweet undertones of Brunost. The result is a dessert that tickles your palate with its balance of textures and flavors. Here is how to make it:

  • Ingredients: 200g Brunost, 2 sheets of gelatin, 500ml cream, 50g sugar, 100ml water, a pinch of salt, toasted almonds for garnish.
  • Procedure: Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Chop the Brunost and combine it with cream, sugar, and water in a pot. Warm up until the cheese is completely melted. Squeeze the water out from the gelatin sheets and dissolve them in the warm cream mixture. Pour the mixture into ramekins or dessert glasses and put them in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. Garnish with toasted almonds before serving.

Featuring Brunost in these recipes allows the full depth of its unique flavor to come to the forefront. The rich, caramelized notes of the cheese integrate beautifully with the ingredients, creating dishes that are not only a delight to the palate but a testament to the versatility of Brunost.

Unveiling the Best Wine and Food Pairings for Brunost Cheese

When it comes to Brunost cheese, it’s not just about snacking, but embarking on a gastronomic adventure, indulging into a myriad of flavors that the world of cheese has to offer. This robust, caramelized cheese hailing from Norway, also known as ‘brown cheese’, has a distinct sweet yet tangy flavor that pairs impeccably with specific wines and dishes that compliment and balance this Norwegian delicacy’s unique profile.

Wines that harmonize well with Brunost lean towards the sweeter side as they excellently balance the rich, fudgy, and slightly tangy edge of the cheese. Among the best contenders is Gewürztraminer, a white wine known for its candied fruit and floral aromas, which works surprisingly well with Brunost. Its sweetness and intensity of flavor pair successfully with the strong, sweet, and nutty character of Brunost. Another commendable choice is Ice Wine. It possesses an intensively sweet, fruity character with high acidity that cuts through the creaminess of Brunost, creating an exciting synergy.

  • Gewürztraminer: A full-bodied white wine with high natural sugar levels and notes of lychee and rose.
  • Ice Wine: An extraordinarily sweet wine, made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, offering notes of tropical fruits, honey, and bright acidity.

In terms of culinary pairings, Brunost’s dense, fudgy texture and sweet caramel flavor lend itself to a number of dishes, from savoury to dessert. One authentic Norwegian way to enjoy Brunost is on a slice of toast or warm waffles drizzled with a touch of honey. This simple way highlights the cheese’s unique qualities. Additionally, Brunost significantly elevates earthy dishes like mushroom and garlic sauté, where the cheese can be used as a finishing touch, imparting a sweet depth to the meal. Lastly, for dessert, Brunost can be beautifully incorporated in pear tart or apple pie, where its caramel element complements the fruit’s sweetness and tartness, making for a memorable finish.

The world of Brunost pairings is intricate yet rewarding – providing an incomparable experience for those looking to journey into the delightful amalgamation of tastes and textures. Remember, there are no definitive rules, only guiding principles. Let your palate be the ultimate judge.

Similar Cheeses to Brunost

Brunost, also known as brown cheese, is a unique and delicious Norwegian cheese that has a caramel-like flavor. Made from a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk, Brunost has a distinct sweet and savory taste. It is traditionally served sliced thinly on bread or crackers, and it pairs perfectly with jams or fruit.

If you are a fan of Brunost and want to explore other cheeses with similar characteristics, here are a few options to consider:

  • Gjetost: Gjetost is the most common variety of Brunost and is made exclusively from goat’s milk. It has a rich and sweet flavor, with hints of caramel or butterscotch. The texture is soft and smooth, making it easy to spread on bread or toast.
  • Nøkkelost: Nøkkelost is a Norwegian cheese that is often compared to Brunost due to its distinct flavor profile. It is a semi-hard cheese seasoned with cumin, cloves, and caraway seeds, which gives it a slightly spicy taste. The texture is creamy and smooth, making it a great cheese to melt or grate over dishes.
  • Tête de Moine: This Swiss cheese, also known as “Monk’s Head,” is another cheese to consider if you enjoy Brunost. It is a semi-hard cheese with a slightly nutty flavor and a smooth texture. Tête de Moine is typically shaved into delicate rosettes using a special cheese curler, making it a unique and visually appealing cheese to serve.
  • Fontina: Originating from Italy, Fontina is a semi-soft cheese with a buttery and nutty flavor. While it may not have the same sweetness as Brunost, Fontina’s rich and creamy taste can be a great alternative for those looking for a cheese with a milder yet flavorful profile. It melts beautifully, making it ideal for grilled cheese sandwiches or fondues.

Exploring similar cheeses to Brunost can be an exciting culinary adventure. Whether you choose to try Gjetost, Nøkkelost, Tête de Moine, or Fontina, each of these cheeses offers a unique taste and texture that can be enjoyed in various dishes or simply on its own.

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About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender writes on international careers. He is founder of and

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