Gjetost comes from Norway and sometimes contains a combination of the two major milks—goat and cow. Ekte Gjetost is all goat.
It is wonderful with fruit, especially apples and pears. In Norway, people place a container or a piece of gjetostnear the fireplace where it can warm and soften. Then they dip slices of fruit into it and enjoy the caramellytaste that compliments the fruit. People who see gjetostfor the first time often think that it is some kind of caramel or fudge. This fudginess occurs because to make gjetost whey is simmered until the moisture evaporates and the milk sugars caramelize.
Whey is the watery part of milk which is separated from the curds or the solid part of the milk in cheese making. Whey is nutricious and may be made into “whey cheese.” And there’s plenty of material to use for making it. Twenty pounds of milk will produce about two pounds of cheese and about fifteen pounds of whey. The whey may be used to create various whey cheeses like ricotta, manouri, Sérac, and the Norwegian whey cheeses, mysost, primost, flotøst, and gjetost.
Gjetost comes in a wide range of colors, consistencies, and flavors, and it is widely produced throughout Scandinavia where it is so common that, according to one of my Norwegian friends, they call it simply, “brown cheese,” brunost.
A woman named Anne Hov is believed to have made the first gjetostas it is known today. In 1864, Hovadded cream to whey to create a richer, firmer version of the ancient recipe. Hov lived in Norway’s Gubrands Valley where Gudbrandsalsost, a very highly regarded gjetost, is still made.
I like the combination of gjetost, apple and pear slices, and Riesling or a medium-dry Chardonnay, some hazel nuts, and a rye cracker or crusty rye bread.