Yes, I do mean sweet when I say so!
Before visiting Norway in July I had never-ever heard of something like that and when I first encountered it at a hotel breakfast, my reaction was 'oh, cool, smoked cheese!'. Well...it wasn't. And I saw the guy beside me place a slice of it onto a chocolate spread sandwich!
The next encounter took me further. At a boat trip we bought waffles and guess what came along - the same brown cheese. I asked our guide about it and she said that they, Norwegians, would rather refer to it as 'caramel'. Aha! Still, days later we almost witnessed the making of the cheese at a museum and I learned more about the background of it - this time believing every word.
Brunost (Norwegian for 'brown cheese') is made by boiling whey, milk and cream together. The process is quite long and and finally almost all of the water will evaporate and lactose (milk sugar) will caramelise, giving the cheese its sweet taste. The mixture will then be cooled.
But buying brown cheese at a Norwegian supermarket for the first time can be difficult (or rather - it was) because there's so much to choose from. Products differ according to their (fat) contents and texture. The most popular is Gudbrandsdalost - some goat's milk is added to its contents. Geitost is wholly or partly made from goat's milk. Fløtemysost only uses cow's milk. There is also a spreadable version of the cheese that is achieved by using a shorter boiling time - this is Prim.
The most ordinary way to eat Brunost is with a slice of bread. Actually, Brunost and cheese slicer go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong, because it's the easiest way for handling the cheese - it's quite sticky, you know. True, it can be sliced with a knife when it's been taken from the fridge but after some time at room temperature it much rather resembles plasticine. Wonderfully and strongly tasting melting-in-mouth plasticine, sweet but at the same time a bit savoury, tasting both of caramel and of cheese, reminding a bit of certain toffee candies.
If there's anyone who's got an actual recipe - I'd be delighted if you'd share!