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Recommends: Jarlsberg Cheese

One of my favorite ways to entertain guests is to have a cocktail party. It’s easier than a sit-down dinner, you can set up food stations wherever it works best inside or outside your home, and it allows people to mingle in multiple spots rather than congregating around one loud dinner table. And one of my all-time favorite things to serve at my cocktail parties is a charcuterie and cheese platter. My newest cheese addition to my platters is Jarlsberg cheese.

Jarlsberg is a semi-soft cheese that pairs well with fruit, nuts, and even dark chocolate! It’s wonderful to cook with or to eat as-is. It’s a mix of gouda and Swiss but the recipe for this cheese is a well-kept secret. This cheese comes from Norway and was made by a professor and his students at the Dairy Institute at the Agricultural University of Norway. A little experimenting with cultures and a development phase of about 10 years and voila! – Jarlsberg cheese!

The beauty about this cheese, besides its incredible taste and texture, is that it is lactose-free in addition to being naturally gluten-free. According to Jarlsberg’s website, “When cheese is made, the whey is separated from the milk, so we are left with what is called curd. Since most of the lactose follows the whey, little is left in the curd.During the ripening process, the small amount of lactose that remains is eaten by lactic acid bacteria. The lactic acid bacteria produce enzymes that are involved in cheese ripening. In a fully matured cheese, there is therefore no lactose left at all, just lots of great taste.”

Moral of the story – have a cocktail party, serve Jarlsberg cheese, and your gluten- and lactose-free guests will be happy!

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