Are you a fan of creamy, semi-hard cheeses with a subtle sweetness and acidity? Then you’ve likely heard of Havarti cheese.
This Danish delicacy has quickly risen in popularity and become a staple in many cuisines around the world. But where exactly is Havarti cheese made?
In this article, we’ll explore the origins and production of this delicious cheese, from its humble beginnings on a Danish farm to its current status as a global favorite.
So grab a slice of Havarti and join us on this cheesy journey!
Where Is Havarti Cheese Made?
Havarti cheese was first created in the mid-1800s by a Danish woman named Hanne Nielsen, who named it after her family farm, Havartigaard. Today, Havarti cheese is produced in many countries around the world, including Denmark, the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Finland, Poland, France, Australia, and New Zealand.
Denmark remains one of the largest producers of Havarti cheese, with approximately 17,000 metric tons produced annually. Of this amount, 3,000 to 4,000 metric tons are consumed domestically. Other major producers in the European Union include Germany and Spain.
In the United States, Wisconsin is the main producing state by far, with over 18,000 metric tons produced in 2018. Other producing states include California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington. The Danish multinational Arla Foods produces Havarti cheese for the American market in Wisconsin from milk produced in Wisconsin.
Canada is also a significant producer of Havarti cheese, with approximately 7,500 metric tons produced annually.
The History Of Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese has a rich history that dates back to the mid-1800s in Denmark. It was created by a Danish woman named Hanne Nielsen, who was passionate about cheesemaking and traveled throughout Europe to learn different techniques. Upon her return to Denmark, she created a washed-rind cheese and named it “Havarthi” after her family farm. This cheese quickly rose to prominence and became a staple in Danish cuisine.
Initially, Havarti cheese was called “Danish Tilsiter” after the German cheese type tilsiter. However, in 1952, the cheese was officially named Havarti after Havartigården near Holte, where Hanne Nielsen worked in the 19th century. Today’s Havarti cheese is based on her original Danish recipe.
Havarti cheese is an interior-ripened cheese that is aged for approximately three months. It is made from whole cow’s milk, giving it a 45% butterfat content. The cheese has a buttery, sweet flavor and may be mild to sharp in flavor depending on its age. Cream Havarti is an extra creamy version of Havarti, enriched with cream and has a smooth melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Over time, Havarti cheese has become a popular cheese variety worldwide, with many countries producing their own versions of this delicious cheese. Today, Havarti cheese can be found in many countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Finland, Poland, France, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Ingredients And Production Process
Havarti cheese is traditionally made from cow’s milk, which is pumped into a large tank and warmed to the right temperature. Two different types of bacteria are used in the production process: mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria. Mesophilic bacteria grow best in moderate temperatures, typically between 20 and 45°C (68 and 113 °F), and are used to make mellow cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, and Colby. Thermophilic bacteria thrive between 45 and 122 °C (113 and 252 °F) and are used to make sharper cheeses such as Gruyère, Parmesan, and romano.
Once the milk has reached the right temperature, rennet is added to curdle the milk. The curd is then cut into small pieces and stirred continuously to help release the whey. The curds are then molded into blocks or wheels and pressed to remove any remaining whey. The cheese is then salted and allowed to age for around three months, which is considered when the taste is at its best.
The production process for Havarti cheese is highly automated in modern facilities such as those operated by Arla Foods. However, cutting and wrapping the cheese is still done manually by teams of employees at each station. The packaged cheese is labeled and passes through metal detection equipment before being sent to a distribution center. The federal Food and Drug Administration inspects Havarti cheese plants in the United States, as does the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also inspects plants twice a year, covering more than 100 items including milk supply, plant facilities, condition of equipment, sanitary practices, and processing procedures.
Varieties Of Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese comes in a variety of flavors and styles to suit different tastes and preferences. Some of the most popular varieties of Havarti cheese include:
– Cream Havarti: This variety of Havarti cheese is enriched with cream, giving it a higher butterfat content and a smoother, creamier texture. Cream Havarti is often milder in flavor than regular Havarti, making it a great option for those who prefer a less sharp taste.
– Flavored Havarti: Many producers offer flavored varieties of Havarti cheese, including options like dill, caraway, jalapeno, and horseradish. These cheeses are infused with herbs, spices, or other ingredients to create unique and interesting flavor profiles.
– Reduced Fat Havarti: For those who are watching their fat intake, reduced fat Havarti is a great option. This cheese is made from part-skim milk instead of whole milk, resulting in a lower fat content while still maintaining the creamy texture and mild flavor of traditional Havarti.
Havarti Cheese Around The World
In addition to Denmark, the United States, and Canada, Havarti cheese is produced in many other countries around the world. Finland, Poland, France, Australia, and New Zealand are among the countries that produce Havarti cheese.
Internationally, the United States and Canada are the main producers of Havarti cheese. However, less than half of the world’s production is made in Denmark. Other major producers in the European Union include Germany and Spain.
Havarti cheese is a popular cheese variety that has gained worldwide recognition for its creamy texture and delicious taste. It is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of dishes. With its popularity continuing to grow, it is likely that Havarti cheese will continue to be produced in many countries around the world for years to come.
Pairing And Serving Suggestions For Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of foods and beverages. Its mild, buttery flavor and creamy texture make it a great addition to any dish. Here are some pairing and serving suggestions for Havarti cheese:
1. Fruits: Havarti cheese pairs well with sweeter, fresh fruits like pear, fig, or Honeycrisp apple. It can also be served with jewel-toned jams, raisins, or dates.
2. Nuts and crackers: For some added crunch, serve Havarti cheese with walnuts, crackers, or some crusty bread.
3. Jams and honey: If you like pairing cheese with jam or jelly, try Havarti with a little raspberry jam or honey.
4. Wine and beer: Havarti cheese matches well with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and light-bodied Pinot Noir wine. It also pairs well with beer.
5. Grilled cheese: Havarti cheese melts like a dream and makes for a great grilled cheese sandwich.
6. Loaded dishes: Havarti cheese can serve as a great addition to loaded dishes that combine multiple ingredients, both as the main flavoring element or the one that highlights the rest.
7. Dessert cheese: Havarti is quite popular as a dessert cheese, and great served with fruit and wine.
When serving Havarti cheese, it is best to let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to allow its full flavor and aroma to develop. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, wine and cheese gathering, or simply looking for a quick snack, Havarti cheese is sure to please any palate.