Havarti

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Photo of Havarti Cheese

Havarti, a cheese of Danish origin, is celebrated for its mild, buttery essence and slight acidity. It was first crafted in the 1800s by Hanne Nielsen, who learned cheesemaking across Europe before perfecting her recipe in Denmark. Today, Havarti is produced widely, including significant quantities in the UK, Canada, and the US, particularly in California, Wisconsin, and New York.

This cheese features a soft, creamy texture and a mild yet distinct flavor profile. In North America, production standards specify up to 50 percent moisture and at least 23 percent fat. Unlike its Danish counterpart, which has small, rice grain-sized holes, North American Havarti tends to have fewer openings and a more uniform appearance.

The production of Havarti involves gentle handling of the curds, minimal pre-ripening, and careful temperature control. Some producers skip the traditional brining in favor of dry-salting, streamlining production but resulting in a firmer cheese that resembles Colby.

Havarti has a global footprint with major production in Denmark, the US, and Canada. However, its designation as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in 2019 by the EU — restricting its name to cheese made from Danish milk — stirred international controversy. This led to pushback from countries like the US, where producers argue that Havarti should remain a generic term.

Important Facts

Country of Origin Denmark
Specific Origin No specific location
Certification PGI (2010)
Fat Content Max 50% moisture, min 23% fat
Moisture Content 40–45% (Typically)
Rind Washed rind
Texture Smooth
Flavor Mild, buttery
Aroma Pungent aroma, earthy taste
Forms Rectangular

Other Cheeses from Denmark

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