This week our cheese-y adventures take us up to Norway: home to glorious mountains, trolls, trendy sweaters and….brown cheese! What’s that you say? Brown cheese?? I was suspicious when I first heard about it too. It was offered to me on a slice of bread one chilly December morning on my first visit to Norway in 2007. I hesitantly took my first bite, then very eagerly took my second, third and final bites. Silky smooth, slightly sweet and satisfyingly sticky, I couldn’t get enough of this odd sounding cheese. The Norwegians call it brunost (brown cheese), and for most families, it’s a breakfast staple.
So, why is brunost brown? It’s made by boiling a mixture of milk (both cow’s and goat’s milk can be used), cream and whey for several hours until the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel, which is why it’s brown (and delicious!) There are 12 varieties of brunost, ranging from lower fat recipes to special Christmas flavors. My favorite way to eat brown cheese is on buttered bread. I usually add a dollop or two of apricot or cloudberry jam to top off the deliciousness. But, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate brown cheese into a recipe or meal. I once topped a baked potato with a few slices and when I proudly told my viking-boyfriend (now husband) what I had done, he let me know that was completely unacceptable and it was never spoken of again. So for now, I’ll just stick to bread and butter. Or maybe this ice cream.
Later this week, it’s Waffle Friday. We’ll be eating brown cheese on waffles and sharing our secret waffle recipe with you – stay tuned!