Monday, September 6, 2010

If I end up a spinster, I'll still have brown cheese.

Brown cheese you ask?

Brown cheese is a Norwegian institution, and is known locally as brunost. A Norwegian who doesn't eat brunost is like an Australian who doesn't eat vegemite. According to the BBC, annual production of brunost is equal to 4kg per Norwegain. Here at Folkehøyskole we have the opportunity to eat it 3 times a day; breakfast, lunch and supper. Infact it tastes nothing like cheese at all, you'll find out why soon. It is characterised as a sweet, strong cheese with caramel and goat cheese flavours. Funny that, considering it is made mostly from goats milk. Depending on the variety, brunost can have a very sharp pronounced flavour, even leaving a stinging sensation in the mouth. The varieties with higher cow milk contents are less sharp and more caramel like in flavour. Original Brunost is made with goat whey only, it's darker colour indicating a sharp, pronounced flavour.
When driving along Norwegian country highways it is common to see vans selling "100% Ekte Geitost", this translates to "100% Real Goat cheese". Those van people think they are being clever selling a product made 100% from goats milk, but technically it isn't cheese. So they are only 50% correct, yes it's from a goat, no it's not really cheese. It is actually made from whey. Whey is what is leftover after milk has been curdled and strained.
Brunost is made by boiling a mixture of milk, cream and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The main use of Brunost is on sandwiches, like open-faced sandwiches or Norwegain waffles. It is usually eaten as the sole sandwhich topping, but can also be eaten with berry jams. Note: brown cheese must NOT be eaten with ham or tomatoes or smoked salmon or anything else savoury, the Norwegians will look at you like as if you are a lunatic. Leftover brun ost is made into different kinds of foodstuffs. Many strange concoctions existed and some of these are still available. Brun ost is used to make gravy for game meats and is served with juniper berries (the berries used to make gin). It can also be used to make a sandwhich spread known as prim. With a water content above 30%, making it spreadable, Prim is almost a Brunost cousin. One of the cooks here at folkehøyskole made the best prim EVER last week. She melted down the brun ost and added milk, golden syrup, vanilla, sugar and corn flour to thicken. DELICIOUS. I think prim would also taste amazing with cinnamon or cardamom mixed in. Australia and many other countries outside of Norway, brun ost is sold under the name "Ski Queen". Look for it at IGA or the cheese section at your local supermarket. It's expensive, but worth it.


  1. This is an amazing little story of cheese, reminds me of when i embarressed myself by putting something with cheese at breakfast that was not allowed and i got looks from your family :p x

  2. wow... i know all there is to know about brunost now! i'll look out for it at IGA.. have you bought it in perth before?
    norweigen waffles sound exciting?!!