The brown cheese of Brunost is considered a national treasure in Norway and is loved by old and young alike. Technically, though, it is not a cheese at all. Traditionally it is made from the whey of goat’s milk which is boiled for hours until most of the water has evaporated and the sugars in the whey have caramelized, giving the cheese its distinctive brown color. Nowadays the whey is also likely to have been supplemented with goat or cow milk and cream.

This ‘cheese’ is then packed into rectangular blocks, refrigerated, and consumed straight away with no maturing. The taste of brunost can come as quite a shock in the beginning. It has a slightly salty and surprisingly sweet flavor with a hint of goat about it. A sort of salty goat fudge.

Brunost has been a product of Norway for centuries and like most traditional Norwegian food it goes back to a time when Norway was a relatively poor country. Usually, the whey is thought of as a by-product of cheese-making proper, and not for human consumption on its own (ricotta being the notable exception), but the wily Norwegians found good use for it, and it must have provided another welcome source of protein.

Today, of course, Norway is a wealthy country, but Brunost remains as much a part of Norwegian life as the mountains and fjords. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a slice of buttered bread, with waffles, or sliced into the gravy to give it a wonderful umami kick (I’ve even made some insanely good ice cream using it). There is no wrong time to have brunost and you will find it everywhere in Norway.(Description by