Norway’s top export cheese is now ready for a serious European invasion with the opening of a licensed facility in Cork, Ireland. Norwegian cheesemakers from dairy giant TINE are in place and production is set to begin from autumn 2005.
TINE export chief Mette Bruneau told newspaper Aftenposten the increased production and new location was the first step in taking new markets, with Greece, Austria, Spain and Russia primary targets for the European push.
France is considered a tougher market to crack since the Jarlsberg process makes it expensive to produce and so the export campaign will focus first on niche markets.
TINE and the Gastronomic Institute have a planned reception package aimed at Norwegian embassies, allowing diplomatic promotion of the cheese at top-level functions around the world.
TINE first convinced their member producers to license the fiercely guarded Jarlsberg process to help meet demands in the USA in 2000, and now about 10,000 tons of the country’s best-known cheese is sold in the USA every year, 3,000 of them produced in Ohio.
The secret recipe behind the bacteria culture for Jarlsberg remains firmly in Norwegian hands, and is transported from there to licensed production sites.