Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Brown Cheese Story

Let's talk about brown cheese.  Brown cheese is a Norwegian thing.  In Norwegian it is called brunost.  It is most traditionally a goat's milk cheese.  You can serve it on pictured above, you can eat it plain, and you can eat it in a sandwich.  

I think this guy's blog has the best description of brown cheese.  He says:

In simplest terms, Brunost is a tan-coloured whey cheese with a distinctive caramel flavour. Part of me feels it’s cheating to use the word cheese at all, because, well, it isn’t cheese! The production process is simple. The water from the whey of goat’s milk is boiled down, which caramelises the sugars. The resulting gloop is left to cool and bingo, brown cheese. It’s set in blocks, wrapped and can be eaten (and by some, enjoyed) immediately.
As I began my Norwegian Adventure I knew that brown cheese had to be a part of it.  So in the name of science...or me experimenting with more food I have come to share my story.  First let's talk about trying to find brown cheese in the grocery store.  Usually it comes in something like this:
Almost everything pictured is a type of brown cheese. When you have been in the country only a day and are searching for the word "brunost" it becomes a little more challenging.  All we could find was the mother of brown cheeses.  It was an enormous block and very decorative.  I assume it was left over from Christmas.  Brittney and I split the block and I think we'll be working on it for many weeks.  Here's our fancy brown cheese:

It was SO fancy! That night we had it plain.  As the guy says in his blog above, you can't think about it like cheese.  It has a fudgey texture with a carmel and slightly salty taste.  I've heard people compare it to peanut butter, not that it tastes like peanut butter, but it has a similar savory/sweet quality. I liked it!  It's not as good as the strawberry marshmallow, but it was really good!  

Next, we attempted to have it the traditional Norwegian way...on a waffle.  Don't worry we totally messed it up.  I went to the convenience store and got a waffle and then I brought it home and melted brown cheese on the waffle.  Turns out I bought a Belgian waffle...not a Norwegian waffle...but it was still delicious!  Maybe Belgium could learn something from Norway!
The picture is not that gorgeous, but it was yummy. The brown cheese caramelized and it really brought out the sweetness.  Next I tried to get fancy with the brown cheese.  I put it on bread with prosciutto and a little jam. My goal was to copy the brie grilled cheese I've had before.  
This was pretty good. The jam worked well, but the prosciutto kind of took over the cheese.  I think Norwegians would not approve of my new spin on the cheese, but I liked it!

Next I went back to the traditional Norwegian way.  One of my students brought this in his lunch so I copied him!  
This is bread, butter, brown cheese, and jam.  It is my second favorite way I tried.  The jam helped the cheese mellow.  If I was really Norwegian the sandwich would be open faced, but I was worried about transport.  

And finally I had it my favorite way!  Today was Waffle Wednesday at ACN!  They made Norwegian waffles and they are served with brown cheese, sour cream and jam.  I had it with all three!
As you can see the waffle itself is pretty! It's made up of many hearts!! On the right is it loaded up with the extras. You eat it kind of like a taco.  No utensils needed! It was perfect!  Thanks Norway!  Another delicious adventure.  When you have the chance, go for the brown cheese....and the waffle!

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