It doesn’t seem fair to call this distinctly Norwegian topping something as troglodytic-sounding as “Brown Cheese”, but that’s the translation of brunost, so there you go.

It’s a staple, here. When my new Norwegian buddies were asking me if I had tried this or that, brunost was always first on the list. This (I’m guessing) caramelized goat cheese has an incredible flavor. Its smell is sort of sweet, sort of musky, sort of aged; its flavor is savory and sweet and heavy all at once. The cheese itself is creamy but keeps its shape in a block. That’s right. It’s both a solid and a cream. I’m trying even to think of a common cheese that mimics it in smell, texture, and flavor, but I really can’t find anything to compare it to.

Brunost Fail

The color is definitely comparable with peanut butter, though (which comes in tiny glass jars here, and I’ve yet to see the creamy variety).

I was under the impression that you couldn’t find brunost outside of Norway, but a sweet Norwegian lady I know has been finding it near Denver, Colorado. I’m not sure any of you live there, but if you do, try to hit up the local Scandinavian lodge to get your hands on some brunost.

Naturally, if you’re going to eat brunost, you have to eat it on knekkebrød. I’ve only had the gluten-free version, but my fiance assures me that it is almost as good as the proper kind. Knekkebrød, as I’ve experienced it so far, is approximately the size of a graham cracker, maybe 3×6 inches. It’s hard like biscotti, but snaps easily and gets everywhere like a saltine.

Oh, and don’t forget your cheese plane. We only have four of them. Norwegians are born knowing how to use one of these. My first attempt was less than impressive, as you can see in the picture.