What is Havarti?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2019
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Havarti is a creamy semi-firm Danish cheese, named after the farm where it was developed at the turn of the twentieth century. It's a mild cheese, similar somewhat to Tilsit or Gouda in flavor, and is peppered with small holes and irregularities. The cheese has a distinctive flavor that develops on the tongue, and can pack a subtle punch. In addition to being sold plain in blocks, it is often flavored with dill, caraway, cumin or other spices.

This cheese was initially created by a Danish farmer's wife, who traveled to many parts of the world exploring the art of cheese making. Upon her return, she decided to experiment with different methods of making cheese, and named her finest creation after the farm it was made on. Havarti is made like most cheeses, by introducing rennet to milk to cause curdling. The curds are pressed into cheese molds which are drained, and then the cheese is aged. This cheese is a washed rind cheese, which contributes to the subtle flavor of the cheese.


Havarti is a slightly flexible cheese with a creamy, buttery flavor. The flesh is usually creamy to pale yellow, and heavily pocked with holes, although the cheese itself has a very creamy texture. If eaten young, the cheese is often considered to be somewhat lacking in flavor, but if allowed to age, it will attain a subtle, slightly acidic flavor which is delightful. It is often offered with fruit and crackers, and pairs well with many wines.

The cheese is often used in place of stronger varieties like Gouda and Emmentaler, when the taste of a cheese is desired without a strong flavor. It often appears on sandwiches, in fondue, and on salads. The cheese comes in low fat versions as well as an enriched full cream type, which tends to melt in the mouth. An enriched cheese can sometimes be intensely cloying, with the heavy creamy texture, and should be used sparingly or in a strong dish which is capable of handling the heavy flavor.

Havarti has become common in many parts of the world. The low fat version is very popular, as it retains much of the flavor of the cheese, unlike other low fat cheeses that tend to suffer in both flavor and texture. Herbed versions, in particular, are becoming increasingly common on wine and cheese platters. Enriched cheese is often paired with assertive wines for a pleasant tasting experience.


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Post 16
@Monika - I agree with you. I love cheese, and whenever I come across a new cheese I haven't tried, I try it. I don't always like it (I'm not a huge fan of really, really strong cheeses) but I've made enough good discoveries that I think it's worth trying all the cheeses at least once. Havarti was one of these random tries and I really like it.
Post 15

Havarti cheese seems to be really popular in the United States these days. I've noticed that several sandwich places near my apartment offer a few sandwiches on the menu that come with Havarti cheese.

I always like to see places like this feature some kind of cheese besides American or Cheddar. There are so many other cheeses out there besides the "standard" yellow cheeses. It's good to try new stuff and expand your tastes once in awhile.

Post 14

@JessicaLynn - I think cheese and wine is always a good idea. I had some low fat Havarti that has spices added to it with some wine the other day and it was delicious. I've had this as an appetizer in a restaurant before also and it was really good.

Post 13

@anon97163 - A Havarti grilled cheese sandwich with wine sounds really delicious. However, since I'm not a broke college student, I would probably pair it with tomato soup (grilled cheese and tomato soup is a great meal) or maybe a little salad.

I also really like to buy Havarti and snack on it with some wine and crackers as a little pre-dinner appetizer, sometimes while I'm cooking. It's very relaxing and it doesn't fill me up too much.

Post 12

I bought fat free havarti in Fuertaventura last year but can't find it in this country. Can anyone help?

Post 11

Havarti cheese and guava paste make an amazing and simple appetizer. A slice of Havarti with a small spoon of guava paste. Crackers on the side if you'd like.

Post 10

In grad school my wife and I would eat havarti toasted on a good, heavy bread with a cheap pinot noir for about four dinners per week. It worked out to roughly a four dollar meal; wine included. Good times.

Post 9

Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent choice with this cheese. I've also enjoyed it with chardonnay.

Post 8

your cheese can make you very sick if you left it warm too long!

Post 7

You can find nutrient information on Havarti in the Danish Food Composition Databank. Energy kJ 1428 Protein, total g 24.5 Fat, total g 26.8 Carbohydrate, total g 1.2

Post 6

Would like to know the carbonhydrate content of Havarti cheese (45 percent fat is all right for me!)

Moderator's reply: Most cheese has few carbohydrates, since it is a protein-based food.

Post 5

What is the fat content of harvarti cheese?

Post 4

I don't know if Havarti is lactose free but I'm lactose intolerant and I am able to eat it with no ill effects. Hope that helps.

Post 3

What wines go good with Havarti cheese?

Post 2

I bought havarti cheese yesterday and had forgotten to refrigerate it overnight. Is the cheese still good?

Post 1

Is Havarti cheese lactose free?

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