Brunost is a hugely popular food within Norway, but it can be hard to find elsewhere in the world. Here's where you can buy it in several other countries.
Have you ever tasted brunost, otherwise known as Norwegian brown cheese? Its distinctive sweet yet tangy flavour and fudgey texture has been a beloved staple in Norwegian households for generations.
Among visitors though, it's very much a ‘love it or hate it' food among tourists.
Known as brunost in its homeland, brown cheese has recently become more popular around the world. For those yearning for another taste of this unique aspect of Norwegian culture outside of Norway, the possibilities have never been greater.
What is Norwegian brown cheese?
Norwegian brown cheese, or brunost, isn't your typical cheese. In fact, it's not actually cheese at all!
It's made from the whey, milk, and cream of cows or goats, or both. The mixture is then boiled until the lactose caramelises, giving the cheese its signature brown colour and sweet flavour.
There are many different types. For example, gjetost is brunost that's made wholly from goat's milk.
Depending on the specific type of brunost, the taste can range wildly from deeply sweet to very tangy. The colour also varies from a light caramel to a dark brown.
Buying brown cheese in Norway
In Norway, brunost is as ubiquitous as bread and milk. At home, it's often sliced with a metal cheese slicer and served on toast or a piece of crisp bread for breakfast, for lunch, or as a snack.
Found in every grocery store, from small local shops to larger chains, brunost is typically sold in wrapped blocks. But it's also available pre-sliced in smaller packets too.
If you're visiting a Norwegian supermarket, keep an eye out for “brunost” in the chilled foods section, next to the other cheeses.
Where to buy brown cheese in the U.S.
Many specialty or European grocery stores carry brown cheese in North America. If you're near a city with a significant Scandinavian population, such as Minneapolis or Seattle, chances are higher that local delis or supermarkets will stock it.
Failing that, there are several online stores that will ship brunost across the USA. Just bear in mind that it needs to be kept refrigerated, so consider the shipping time when ordering.
Previously, brunost has been available at Amazon, but it doesn't seem to be at the time of writing. It's always worth checking stocks on Amazon as the price can often be good. While you're at it, pick up a metal cheese slicer to enjoy your brunost in the most authentically Norwegian way possible!
By far the easiest brand to find is ‘Ski Queen', a brand that's made by the Norwegian company Tine just for export.
For example, in Minneapolis, Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace has been offering a wide selection of Scandinavian food and gifts since 1921. They sell Ski Queen in both goat-only and a blended variety.
Buying brunost in the U.K.
Funnily enough, brunost is available from Amazon UK at the time of writing. If you're not an Amazon shopper, there are some other options too.
The grocery store of London-based Scandi Kitchen usually carries Tine's Gudbrandsdalen. Pop in to the store in person or order online. Liverpool Cheese Company also carries the same brand. Some branches of Waitrose also carry Gudbrandsdalen.
While nothing can replace the experience of enjoying a slice of brunost in Norway itself, the increasing accessibility of this unique product worldwide ensures that more people can experience a taste of Norwegian culture, no matter where they are.
So whether you're shopping online or visiting a Scandinavian shop in person, I wish you all the best on your brown cheese hunt!