Jarlsberg from Norway: the top special cheese in the U.S.  Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps in four flavors: Chipotle, Garlic & Herb, Mediterranean Sea Salt and Rosemary & Olive Oil. We’ve been enjoying them plain, with soup and salads, and with dips.  “What big eyes you have,” said Goldilocks to the Jarlsberg. Eyes is the industry term for what consumers call holes (photos courtesy Jarlsberg).
Sixty years ago, a group of students and scientists at the Agricultural University of Norway decided to explore old legends and cheese-making traditions, and to create an old cheese with modern cheese-making technology.
The origin of the modern cheese they created traces back to the early 1800s when Swiss cheese makers came to southern Norway to teach Norwegians how to make cheese.
Norwegians began to produce their own cheese similar to Swiss cheese, but after the departure of the Swiss, the particular style did not endure.
Fast forward: 1956 arrives, along with the students who had a project under the direction of their professor, Ole Martin Ystgaard of the Dairy Institute at the Agricultural University of Norway. Their project: to revive an old-style cheese.
They studied ancient texts and recipes, experimented, and created a wonderful cheese they named Jarlsberg® (pronounced YAHRLS-berg).
It was named after Count Vadel Jarlsberg, whose countship was created in 1673. His estate was located near where the earlier version of the cheese was first produced.
A mild, semisoft, part skim, pasteurized cheese made from cow’s milk, Jarlsberg has been beloved from the beginning for its mild, sweet and nutty taste and the appeal of its large round holes (eyes).
It is Norway’s most famous edible export, the #1 cheese imported to the U.S., and the #1 specialty cheese* brand in the U.S.
As a bonus to millions of Americans, it’s also lactose-free†.
Bravo, Professor Ystgaard and team. Who wouldn’t love bragging rights to this creation: for oneself and for generations to come!
A VERSATILE CHEESE
Jarlsberg is one of the most versatile cheeses. More than a table cheese and sandwich cheese, it can be:
Melted for cheese sauces, fondues, gratins, grilled cheese sandwiches and rarebits/rabbits (here’s how to melt cheese).
Shaved as a garnish for salads and soups.
Used for cheeseburgers (so much tastier than American cheese!), mac and cheese, omelets, quiche and other cheese tarts.
Hickory Smoked Pre-Sliced Jarlsberg.
Grab-and-go mini cheeses for snacking (voted Men’s Health Best Snack Award for 2014 and 2015).
Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks (shaped like string cheese).
Jarlsberg Lite, a reduced-fat rindless cheese (not a good melter—you need more fat to melt well).
Cheese crisps: cheese crackers in four flavors (photo #3).
The line has expanded to include:
For starters, see some of the recipes below.
*Specialty cheese is defined as a cheese of limited production, with particular attention paid to natural flavor and texture profiles. The opposite is factory cheese, mass-produced.
Cheddar and authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano are the other two cheeses that are 100% lactose free.