Saturday, October 15, 2011

Big Cheeses: Havarti

I was really happy about the many opportunities I had to go cheese testing throughout this month. I went to an excellent market that features a variety of good food that you can buy and sample. I also happened to go to a fancy French style restaurant that included a cheese platter that I always enjoy. Throughout the month, I tried six new cheeses and I'm really pleased to have done so. The highlight cheese for this month will be Denmark's most recognizable cheese or the cheese that we seem to recognize the most in American cuisine. No, it is not the cheese featured in a Cheese Danish (though depending on how they're made, they make for a good treat), but another cheese that plays a fine tune with your taste buds like sailing on a bay. I am speaking of Havarti.

Havarti originated on a farm called "Havarthigaard" in the mid 1800's, ran by Hanne Nielsen. This cheese features small eyes ("eyes" are holes or pockets in the cheese caused from bacteria that's used in it) that simply come off as being freckle-sized dents. Despite having these pockets, the two do not look or taste a lot alike. Havarti is a semi-soft cheese that has a very creamy and buttery taste to it. When you're eating it, you get a nice and rich taste in your mouth that makes it feel a bit like an orchestra.

Aside from the regular kind, Havarti also comes with many of pairings. These pairings include caraway seeds, chives, and dill, but also include many more. This seems to remind me a lot of Cabot's Sun Dried Tomato Basil Mild Cheddar, but dill and Havarti has been used on various occasions with various companies. When I tried Havarti, it was paired with the caraway seeds. When tasting it, I concentrated far more on the cheese than I did with the pairings, and it seemed to very well make a difference. The pairing of Havarti and dill would be one of those instances where contrasting flavors form into one. Havarti is not necessarily sweet, but more so rich, as dill offers a more sour flavor like you would find in its more familiar partner... the pickle. Havarti would make a fine nominee for it's many pairings and that's why it seems like one of those cheeses people are eager to try or when they try it and like it go back for seconds.

I have yet to try Havarti and dill to be honest, but I myself would be eager to do so. As for the regular product, I would enjoy it just as well with either an ordinary Entertainment Cracker (which is a more uppity version of the Ritz or Club Cracker) or just as it is. Many of cheeses don't really need a partner and Havarti is sure one of them. I always find it a good idea to look through the imported cheese section in the grocery store or supermarket as oppose to just darting to the dairy section to look for cheese. Havarti happens to be one of those reasons. Regardless what form it's in, you'll have a good time eating the cheese in itself. I would sure be one to go back for seconds, thirds, and many more tries on top of that.

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