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Nøkkelost (Norwegian: "key cheese"), also seen in Swedish spelling as Nökkelost and sometimes called kuminost (cumin cheese), is a Norwegian cheese flavored with cumin and cloves, not with caraway seeds, as is often mistaken. It is semi-hard, yellow, and made from cow's milk, in the shape of wheels or blocks, with a maturation period of three months.
Nøkkelost cheese is similar to the Dutch cheese, Nagelkaas, which is itself an unprotected name variant of kanterkaas. There are differing theories on the origin of the Norwegian name. The most likely is that it is a false cognate in Norwegian of the Dutch "Nagelkaas", which translates to "nail cheese", owing to the nail-like shape of the cloves. Another theory is that as a factory-made variation of the Dutch Leyden cheese, which has its origins in the 17th century, the Norwegian "nøkkel" (meaning "key") is a reference to Leiden's coat of arms.
There was a version of Nøkkelost manufactured and marketed in the US throughout the 1960s. Kraft Foods first called it "Caraway" then later used "Kuminost Spiced Cheese" on the label. It disappeared in the late 1970s. This cheese is also produced by cheese makers Pleasant Valley Dairy  from Ferndale, WA and Three Village Cheese Co. in the Town of Newport, NY.
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