Norwegian Language Blog

Brown cheese Posted by on Jan 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

Gjetost or Gudbrandsdalost are the two most common names for this delicious Norwegian cheese.  You might also see it spelled geitost or if you are in Sweden it would be mesost and in Denmark myseost.  Ost means cheese, geit or gjet means goat and Gudbrandsdalost means cheese from the Gudbrandsdal valley (dal is valley).  Many Norwegians actually just call it brunost or brown cheese for it’s brown caramelly color.  I absolutely love cheese, so much that I would rather have gas and bloating rather than not eat cheese if I were lactose intolerant.  I love cheddar, brie, mozzerella, parmesan, provolone, swiss, pepperjack, jarlsberg (another Norwegian cheese), bleu cheese, o.s.v. (means etc.).  But, my alltime favorite cheese is gjetost.

There are several different kinds of gjetost. There is Gudbrandsdalost which is actually only 24% goat’s milk and the rest cow’s milk.  Then there is gjetost which is made from goat’s milk and no cow’s milk.  The difference in taste is the sharpness.  The more goat’s milk, the sharper and stronger the taste.  Brunost made from part cow’s milk has a more mellow taste.  Either way you make gjetost you need milk from either a cow or a goat, as well as whey and cream.  It is made by boiling the three ingredients to the point that the water evaporates and the sugar from the milk caramelizes, giving the cheese it’s brown color and sweet flavor.

In addition to the solid form of cheese that the above-said process creates, there is also a version of cream cheese that has been developed from these ingredients, by boiling them for a shorter time.  This version of the cheese is called prim and is spreadable like our Philadelphia cream cheese.

Gjetost is typically used as a topping for an open-faced sandwich or wrapped up in lefse, but it can also be used as part of sauce for game animals, often mixed with juniper berries.  This I have never had, but I’m sure I would love.  I would think it would be something like us having cranberries with game and then mixing some sweet cheese in!

I am in love with gjetost. You can find it in supermarkets in the midwest and I’m sure in the northwest, but it’s just not as good as the gjetost that you can find in Norway.  The brand I have most often seen here is called ‘Skiqueen’ which apparently comes from Norway, but I never saw it there.  The only brand of cheese I really ever saw in Norway besides jarlsberg was Tine.

If you have never had gjetost I would highly advise getting your paws on some.  It’s so great because it’s sweet, but it’s still cheese, so it’s very versatile in terms of when during the day it might sound good-and the answer to that is alltid (always)!!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Richard Thomassen:

    Ski Queen Geitost is part of the Tine dairy cooperative.