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Havarti cheese was initially created by Hanne Nielsen who operated an experimental farm called Havarthigaard, in Øverød, north of Copenhagen, in the mid-20th century. Havarti is made like most cheeses, by introducing rennet to milk to cause curdling. The curds are pressed into cheese moulds which are drained, and then the cheese is aged. Havarti is a washed curd cheese, which contributes to the subtle flavour of the cheese.
Havarti is an interior-ripened cheese that is rindless, smooth and slightly bright-surfaced with a cream to yellow colour depending on type. It has very small and irregular openings ("eyes") distributed in the mass.
Havarti has a buttery aroma and can be somewhat sharp in the stronger varieties, much like Swiss cheese. The taste is buttery, and from somewhat sweet to very sweet, and it is slightly acidic. It is typically aged about three months, though when the cheese is older it becomes more salty and tastes like hazelnut. When left at room temperature the cheese tends to soften quickly.
The original Havarti is different from flødehavarti ("cream havarti"), which is made from high-pasteurized milk, so that the whey proteins that would otherwise be eliminated during production remain in the curd. This raises yields but alters the taste and texture. Cream havarti usually ripens very little, since the remaining whey proteins cause problems (off-taste, odd appearance) during prolonged ripening.
Nutritional Highlights for 1 slice (1 oz./28 g):