Gjetost: a Unique Scandinavian Cheese

Slices of Norwegian Gjetost goat or cow's milk cheese
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There is much that makes Norwegian gjetost cheese unique. First of all, it has a distinct color. Gjetost (pronounced YAY-toast) is light brown, the same color as a caramel candy. Secondly, the flavor, which is sweet.

What Does Gjetost Taste Like?

When Gjetost is made, the milk is slowly cooked until it's caramelized. This gives the cheese its brown color and sweet flavor that has just a hint of saltiness.

Some versions of gjetost are made only from whey; others are made from a mix of whey, milk, and cream. Gjetost can be made from only goat's milk or from a blend of goat and cow's milk. There is not a huge flavor difference between all these versions.

The texture of gjetost is smooth and firm but a little gooey, not unlike a real caramel or a piece of fudge.

How to Eat Gjetost

Gjetost is often sliced and served on toast for breakfast. Gjetost is also great for breakfast because it's a cheese that pairs well with coffee. It travels well and is a good cheese to keep in your pocket while skiing or take on road trips and camping trips. The cheese can also be served for dessert.

Where to Buy Gjetost

Gjetost is often easier to find at grocery stores than at specialty cheese shops. It is sold in 250 g/8oz squares or 500 g/16 ounce rectangles.

Other Scandinavian Cheeses

You might be surprised to know that Scandinavian countries import a huge amount of cheese to the United States. The mild flavor and soft texture, as well as the fact that the cheese is often sold sliced for sandwiches, makes Scandinavian cheeses popular.

The online retailer igourmet.com claims to import at least 60 Scandinavian cheeses.

Examples of Scandinavian Cheese

  • Jarlsberg: A semi-soft and mild-flavored cow's milk cheese, similar to Emmental
  • Finlandia Swiss: A semi-soft cow's milk cheese with a "Swiss" flavor, usually sold in large blocks that are sliced
  • Danish Blue: Sold under several different brand names, this blue cheese is creamy with big flavor.
  • Havarti: A very mild and fairly soft cow's milk cheese. Often sliced for sandwiches.