Emmentaler and Swiss cheese are good substitutes for Jarlsberg cheese. Jarlsberg and Swiss cheese are the Norwegian and U.S. versions of Emmentaler. They taste very similar and have similar melting characteristics. Raclette and Gruyere can be used as substitutes for Jarlsberg, but are missing Jarlsberg's buttery element.
Modeled on the cheeses of Switzerland, the precursor to modern Jarlsberg cheese was created by Anders Larsen Bakke in Jarlsberg and Laurvig county in Norway in the mid-19th century. In 1956, a group from the Agricultural University of Norway combined the old recipes with modern cheese-making techniques to create Jarlsberg cheese. The term Jarlsberg is now trademarked.