What Is Havarti Cheese, Actually?

Cheese: It’s delicious, no matter how you slice it (or grate it or crumble it). And there’s so much of it—beyond the usual cheddar, Swiss, or even American. There’s gouda, brie, camembert, and, today’s topic, havarti. Havarti may be a less celebrated cheese, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less tasty. But what is havarti cheese, exactly? What does havarti taste like? How does one best use it? Let’s get the havarti party started and find out.

What is havarti cheese?

Havarti is a semi-soft Danish cheese made from cow’s milk that is typically aged for three months. Like Swiss cheese, it often has holes, or “eyes,” in it, though its taste and texture vary from Swiss cheese.

Where is havarti cheese from?

Havarti is a Danish cheese, which in this instance does not mean that it’s a cheese that would be good in a danish (although it probably would be). It means that Havarti is originally from Denmark.

What does havarti cheese taste like?

Looking through descriptions of havarti, the words “buttery,” “smooth,” and “slightly sweet” come up most often. Keep in mind, there are milder and sharper grades of havarti, just like with other cheeses.

Because of its relatively unassuming flavor profile, cheesemakers often infuse havarti with other flavors, commonly horseradish and dill (one of the best Aldi cheeses is a dill-infused havarti, if you’re looking to give it a try). 

What is havarti cheese similar to?

Because of the holes in havarti, it looks the most similar to swiss cheese. However, in terms of texture and flavor, it’s much closer to something like gouda, muenster, or fontina. 

Does havarti cheese melt?

Yes, havarti cheese is on the meltier side of the spectrum, making it a good choice for grilled cheeses, burgers, and any other dish that could use some gooey cheesy goodness. 

What is havarti cheese good for?

As you will see if you click on this list from Insanely Good Recipes, there is truly no end to the applications of havarti cheese. Because it is so creamy and relatively benign, you can use it anywhere you’d use cheddar, Swiss, or whatever your favorite melting cheese might be. We’re talking the base of a cheese dip, a little flavor pop in a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich, a twist on classic mac and cheese, and on and on. 

How to make havarti cheese?

Though it’s a less common cheese than some of the old standbys, it shares the same process as most cheeses. Essentially, rennet is introduced to milk to make it curdle. The resulting curds are pushed into a mold and drained, and then the cheese is aged. Havarti is usually aged for three months. 

Is havarti a hard cheese? 

Havarti is classified as a semi-soft cheese. It’s less pliable and harder than something like brie or camembert, but much softer and more pliable than a hard cheese such as parmesan, cheddar, or gruyère.

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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