|Country of origin||Norway|
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Named after||Jarlsberg Manor|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Jarlsberg (//; Norwegian: [²jɑːɭsbærɡ]) is a mild cow’s–milk cheese with large regular holes, that originates from Jarlsberg, Norway. Although it originated in Norway, it is also produced in Ohio and Ireland under licenses from Norwegian dairy producers.
Jarlsberg cheese has a yellow wax rind (outer layer) and a semi-firm yellow interior. It is a mild, buttery cheese. The flavor has been described as “clean and rich, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavour”. It is an all-purpose cheese, used for both cooking and eating as a snack. It has a characteristic smooth, shiny-yellow body, and a creamy supple texture. It is aged a minimum of three months and is distinguished by medium to large holes.[unreliable source?] Some variations are aged a minimum of 9, 12 or 15 months. It is usually produced in 10 kg wheels with an approximate diameter of 330 mm and a height of 95-105 mm. The characteristic holes or “eyes” are the result of the action of the bacteria Propionibacterium freudenreichii which naturally occurs in milk and is added back to the cheese during production according to a closely guarded secret formula.
The history of this cheese can be traced back to the middle 1850s. Anders Larsen Bakke (1815–1899), a farmer and pioneer in Norway’s dairy industry, produced cheese in the village of Våle in what was then the county of Jarlsberg and Larviks Amt (now Vestfold), 80 km (50 mi) south of Oslo. The cheese shares similarities with Emmental, introduced to Vestfold by Swiss cheese makers during the 1830s. The cheese was first noted in the annual county report of Jarlsberg and Larviks Amt in 1855. After several years of popularity marked by a large volume of production Jarlsberg disappeared from the market.
Modern Jarlsberg cheese was developed in 1956 by Ole Martin Ystgaard of the Dairy Institute at the Agricultural University of Norway. Ystgaard’s interest was sparked by the thesis of a dairy sciences student, Per Sakshaug, on the cheese historically made in Vestfold. It was named for a Norwegian nobleman Count Wedel Jarlsberg (or the eponymous county) who owned land near Oslo in an area where an earlier version of the cheese was produced in the early 1800s. The recipe was developed from formulae originating with Swiss cheesemakers who moved to Norway at that time.
Production and distribution
“Jarlsberg” is a trademark first registered by Tine SA in 1972, and the exact nature and formula for the process of making Jarlsberg cheese is a trade secret. The largest producer of Jarlsberg cheese is Tine SA. Tine is the largest Norwegian dairy product cooperative. Jarlsberg cheese accounts for 80% of Tine’s total export. Tine’s United States subsidiary, Norseland, has sold 150 million 22 lb (10 kg) wheels of Jarlsberg cheese in the U.S. as of 2004[update].
Jarlsberg cheese was introduced in the United States in 1964. Imports to the U.S. in 1965 were 25 million pounds (11,000,000 kg). Since 1979 imports to the U.S. have been limited to 15 million pounds (6,800,000 kg). Jarlsberg is the most popular imported cheese in the U.S. As of 2004[update], 5–10 million pounds (2,300,000–4,500,000 kg) of Jarlsberg cheese was made in the U.S. in Ohio. It is also produced in Ireland by Dairygold.
Annual sales of Jarlsberg cheese in the United Kingdom are £6.9m as of 2013[update]. Jarlsberg cheese is also popular in Australia.
Jarlsberg is used as the topping of the Grandiosa, the best-selling frozen pizza in Norway.
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