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Jarlsberg (pronounced YAHRLZ-berg) is a mild, cow's milk cheese from Norway. It is based on an Emmental-like cheese that was made briefly in the county of Jarlsberg, Norway by Swiss cheesemakers in the early 1800's.

Jarlsberg cheese has a sweet, nutty taste. The cheese has a yellow wax rind. The interior is pale yellow, with large, irregular holes. Jarlsberg is stronger and sweeter than Emmental. The cheese is usually made into 20 pound wheels, but is also made into loaf-shaped cheeses. The cheese melts well, and has many uses. Jarlsberg is good for snacking and cooking, and is found in sandwiches, fondues, and quiches, among other things.

Development of Jarlsberg cheese started in 1956 by a man named Ola Martin Ystgaard from the Agricultural University of Norway. The Emmental-like cheese made from the 1800's was no longer made and Ystgaard did research to produce a similar cheese. Jarlsberg cheese was ready for export by 1961.

Jarlsberg is usually aged 2 to 3 months, but there is a version of the cheese called Jarlsberg Reserve that is made in limited quantities and aged at least 12 months. Jarlsberg Reserve has a stronger and more complex flavor and aroma.

There is also a smoked version of the cheese, though the smoked version wouldn't exactly fit everyone's definition of a smoked cheese. According to TINE, a major manufacturer of Jarlsberg, smoked Jarlsberg is produced by dipping the cheese "in a special smoky liquid."

TINE also makes a lower fat version called Jarlsberg Lite.

There is a group on Facebook for fans of Jarlsberg cheese.

Where to buy

Jarlsberg is a very heavily exported cheese, and can be found in many grocery stores throughout the world. You can also find Jarlsberg online at


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