Havarti with Caraway
Castello is a cheese brand that was originally established in 1893 by Rasmys Tholstrup and expanded by his son, Henrik, before being purchased by Arla Foods, a Danish agricultural cooperative. Today Castello cheeses are available around the world, but in North America the brand is best known for its various blue, camembert and brie-style cheeses. Havarti cheeses were added to the Castello name in 2012.
Havarti is a traditional Danish cheese that was first produced by farmer Hanne Nielsen in the mid-1800s. Nielsen decided to travel around Europe to learn the art of cheesemaking, and once she returned to her farm at Havarthigaard, North of Copenhagen, she decided to produce a new cheese and name it after the farm. Today the Castello Havarti is produced at Nr Vium dairy in Vidbaek, Denmark, using mild that’s collected from farms in Western Jutland. This particular version is speckled with caraway seeds, formed into nine-pound blocks and aged for up to two months.
Havarti with Caraway exudes a spiced and yeasty aroma reminiscent of an everything bagel. Its texture is intriguing; creamy and soft, punctuated by popping bursts of caraway seeds that almost feel like bits of rice cereal. The caraway flavor doesn’t overwhelm; it imparts a nice rye-like taste, remaining distinct from the grassy butteriness of the cheese.
This cheese can be served alone or incorporated in into recipes. By itself, the creaminess of the Havarti and the flavors of caraway provide the feeling and flavor that rye bread usually gives to a Reuben. This inspired celebrity chef Michael Symon to tuck it into ravioli, calling the dish Reuben Ravioli with Caraway Havarti. For drink pairings, try it with a Riesling or a Hefeweizen.