Brown cheese is a Norwegian cheese made from either a mix of goat's milk and cow's milk and cream or just goat's milk and cream. It's a full fat whey cheese that looks like fudge and tastes a bit like caramel. The fat content is around 30%.
Brown cheese tastes really good applied in see-through thin slices on freshly baked bread, and you'll be hard pressed to find a fridge in Norway lacking some kind of brown cheese. There's a multitude of types to choose from:
- Gudbransdalsost. A blend of goat's milk, cow's milk, whey and cream. It's called Ski Queen in the UK, Australia and the US. In Germany it's sold under the name of Norgold.
- Ekte Geitost. (Authentic Goat Cheese). This made from pure goat's milk and cream. This cheese is sold worldwide as "Ekte Geitost".
- Fløtemysost. Made from cow's milk and cream. Sold only in Norway.
- Innherred Søt Fløtemysost. Same as above, only with some sugar added. Sold only in Norway.
- Mysost. Made from cow's milk, whey and syrup. Sold only in Norway. Contains 7% fat.
- Prim. Brown cheese that's as soft as butter and great for sandwiches. Sold only in Norway.
- Nøttebrun. Brown cheese with a taste uf hazelnut and honey. Sold only in Norway.
- Sjokobrun. Brown cheese which tastes a little bit of milk chocolate. This one too is just for Norway.
All these brown cheeses are sold in light versions as well, usually reducing fat content by half.
Brown cheese was supposedly first made in the Gudbrandsdal Valley in the 1860's, and it is unique to Norway. A woman named Anne Hov is regarded as the inventor of brown cheese, but texts from as far back as 1637 describes a dairy product made with the same method. Norwegians eat around 10.000 tons of brown cheese per year. To put it differently: 30% of all cheeses consumed every year in Norway is some kind of brown cheese. In 1991 Brown cheese was in a public radio show poll awarded the title "most Norwegian of all Norwegian things".
Brown cheese is clean, slightly sour, sweet and has a slight caramel flavour. The texture is fudge-like and the colors are varying nuances of brown. A cheese plane is the recommended tool for slicing brown cheese. The caramel taste and the brown colour comes from the production process; cheese mass (milk and whey) is heated under pressure to the point where the natural sugars in the milk starts to caramelize. Brown Cheese contains no additives of any kind, except for prim which is enriched with iron.
Sources: http://www.tine.no and http://www.norwegiancheeses.co.uk