Brown cheese

A Norwegian specialty makes an unusual sauce

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Norwegian Chicken Meatballs

It's not new, and it's often overlooked - except by its devotees. Gjetost ( yea-toast), which comes from Norway, is sold either in little red boxes labeled Ski Queen or cut and wrapped with plastic. Norwegians often call it "brown cheese" and can't start the day without paper-thin slices of it on paper-thin crisp bread. My mother used to call gjetost the "Fels Naptha cheese" because it looks like a bar of the so-named soap.

Gjetost isn't made like most cheeses. Cow's and goat's milk, along with whey, are boiled until reduced to an amber color. When warm and fresh-made, the cheese tastes like sweet caramel with a tangy nip. I just happened to be in a Norwegian gjetost factory when a batch was finished: my companions - food writers - viewed my addiction to this cheese as odd, but once they tasted the warm stuff, my status improved. What's really odd is how mellow and delicious this sweet cheese is in meat sauces.

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