Bergen is the name of a picturesque port city on the western coast of Norway. Ost means “cheese” in Norwegian. Put these words together and you’d assume that Bergenost describes a traditional Norwegian cheese, imported from western Scandinavia.
Nope. Though it’s made using imported Norwegian cultures, Trader Joe’s Bergenost is actually an American cheese—produced for us in Corfu, New York. And then there’s the green wax rind, apropos of nothing. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: Our supplier is an award-winning artisan cheese maker whose Bergenost earned gold at the 1999 New York State Fair. Since then, it’s been a sought-after curd in the U.S. and beyond.
So, why the name with such a strong Scandinavian connection? In addition to the cultures imported from Norway, Bergenost also resembles other cheeses that are typical of the Scandinavian region—cheeses like Havarti from Denmark and Riksost from Sweden. It’s made from cow’s milk that is never treated with rBST. Additional cream is added before the curd is formed, significantly increasing the butterfat content, and earning Bergenost the “Triple Crème” designation. According to the French, a Triple Crème cheese must have at least 75% butterfat content. (It’s encouraging to note that this is only the percentage of butterfat in the dry matter of the cheese. The total butterfat content of the cheese is roughly about half this percentage.) Still, the plentiful cream gives Bergenost its buttery aroma and smooth texture. The semi-soft consistency is accompanied by a mild flavor with a hint of sourness.
The higher butterfat also makes this a wonderful melting cheese. Microwave a piece of Bergenost for 10-15 seconds and spread it on a freshly toasted bagel. Shred it into your spinach and artichoke dip for increased richness. Enjoy it atop TJ’s Brioche Toasts, and next to a chilled glass of Chardonnay or Riesling.
We’re selling wedges (usually about 10 ounces each) of Trader Joe’s Bergenost for the incredible price of $6.99 per pound. Indulge in the creamy goodness of our July Spotlight before it’s gone, and let the rich experience carry you away to Norway or New York or France or wherever your happy-cheese-place happens to be.