Hailing from Norway, Jarlsberg originated in the 1830s when Swiss cheesemakers taught some Norwegians how to make an emmental-style cheese. Though production dwindled over the years, this flavorful cheese was resurrected in the 1960s and today the immensely popular Jarlsberg is exported worldwide. This semihard pasteurized cow's milk cheese has a thin, hard rind that's pale yellow to yellow-brown in color; some Jarlsbergs are rindless. The ivory to yellow interior has a scattering of large, irregular eyes. It has a smooth, supple texture and a flavor that's buttery and slightly sweet and nutty. Regular Jarlsberg is generally ripened for about 6 months, though some are aged for 12 or more months. There are also low-fat and smoked versions, the latter flavored with liquid smoke. See also cheese.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.