What’s the Difference Between Havarti and Gouda Cheese?

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Gift Guidance
havarti cheese

Gourmet foods make great gifts to friends and family who live at a distance (or who live close) – especially when they include cheese! When you send cheese to your loved ones, you’re not just sending an addictive snack – you’re sending them an easy serving option, as fruit and cheese gift baskets make great choices for when you’re expecting guests. A cheese ball (prices at Pittman & Davis start at $24.99 for our Asiago & White Cheddar Chardonnay version) can be set out on a coffee table with crackers and slices of fruit, and you’re all set to entertain.

There’s no denying the popularity of cheese. In the US alone, the average American eats forty pounds a year. Cheese is a household staple around the world, with the assorted varieties finding their way into cooking, baking and sandwich-making. For those looking to cut down on their meat consumption, cheese is an excellent alternative protein source.

There’s a wide variety of gourmet cheeses available. Two of our most popular varieties at Pittman & Davis include Havarti (like our Royal Havarti Cheese, starting at $29.99) and gouda (like the gouda cheese found in our Savory Treats Gift Basket, only $59.99). If you’ve never had either of these gourmet cheese varieties, you may be wondering how they’re different and how they can be used. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Gouda Cheese

Gouda is more than “good-a” …it’s “great-a!”

One of the oldest recorded cheese varieties, Gouda cheese dates way back to 1184 in the Netherlands and is named for the town where it was traded. The name actually refers to how the cheese is made (cheesemakers age the cheese after brining it instead of before). During the culture process, liquid whey is rinses to prevent excess lactic acid from forming; once the curds are pressed into round molds and brined, the cheese is left to dry and age anywhere from one to twelve months, depending on the methods of the cheesemaker.

A favorite on cheese boards and in pasta recipes, gouda is known for its distinct, smoky flavor. The flavor and texture can vary depending on the cheesemaker.

Gouda enthusiasts insist that a cheese is only truly gouda when it’s made with raw Dutch milk.

Gouda cheese is wonderful on sandwiches, crackers, on baked bread, and in macaroni and cheese recipes. It can also be paired with apples, pears, and nuts for a tasty snack. You should serve a full-bodied red wine with gouda (like a Cabernet Franc or a French Bordeaux).

Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese was created by a woman named Hanne Nielsen, who studied cheesemaking all over Europe before returning to her own farm north of Copenhagen in the mid-1800s to try her hand at making her own. The result was a semi-soft cheese with a creamy, buttery flavor, which Nielsen named after her farm, Havarthigaard.

On average, the aging process for Havarti cheese is at least three months. It becomes firmer, saltier, and nuttier in flavor the longer it’s aged. The bacteria in Havarti cheese gives it small holes similar to those found in Swiss cheese.

Havarti goes beautifully with sweet fruits and jams. It makes a great foil when served with pears, apples, and figs. If you’re looking for wine that goes well with Havarti cheese, lighter bodied varieties (such as a rosé, pinot noir, or sauvignon blanc) are a good choice.

Is your mouth watering yet? Check out all our savory cheese offerings online!

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