What Makes Scandinavian Brown Cheese Unique

The cheese world is vast. We're talking nearly 2,000 different kinds of cheese varieties, according to Wisconsin Cheese. From parmesan to paneer, blue cheese to Bijou, cheese lovers can partake in some pretty serious tasting adventures. If you're not in Europe, however, one cheese in particular can be a bit difficult to track down. If you do get the chance to sample Scandinavian brown cheese, you're in for a memorable dairy experience. 

TINE, Norway's largest producer and distributor of dairy goods, explains that a farmer's wife first made the brown cheese in the 1860s, and the cheese has since become a national symbol. Called brunost (it translates to "brown cheese"), this whey-based cheese appears exactly as advertised: brown in color. While the brown blocks do require slicing, the texture of the cheese is smooth and easily cut — just don't expect it to taste like any other cheese you're familiar with, warns Cook's Info. You'll need to sample the cheese with an open mind, for slices of this dairy product taste nothing like Goudamozzarella, or any other kind of semi-soft cheese.

Cheese with notes of caramel

Scandinavian brown cheese is made from reduced whey, cream, and milk that has been simmered for hours. In time, sugar from the milk caramelizes, and the whey concoction turns tan (via Cook's Info). Once taken off the heat, the thickened cream is poured into molds and left to harden. Unlike other cheeses, Scandinavian brown cheeses aren't aged, and variations can be made with either cow or goat milk and some have sugar added. Life in Norway explains that Gudbrandsdalsost (made from cow and goat milk) and Fløtemysost (cow milk) are two varieties commonly found in markets and are typically served alongside bread, crackers, or waffles.

If you can find this unique cheese, use a cheese slicer (invented in Norway) to cut it for the full Norwegian experience (per Norway Exports). You can try slices on sandwiches or other more complex recipes; North Wild Kitchen offers ideas ranging from soups to waffles.