For a small country, Denmark certainly offers a wide range of cheeses, including some famous favourites like Cream Havarti and Danablu. And while some of these cheeses are quite contemporary and unique, other more traditional varieties display delicious influences from the French, Italian and Swiss. So whether you favour soft and mild style, or one that’s more bold and blue, Denmark has the perfect cheese for the cheese lover in you.
First developed in the 1960s, this modern creamy cheese is streaked with thick, blue horizontal veins. Made from cow’s milk and enriched with cream, it has a soft, Brie-like texture and double-cream status. The half-moon shaped cheese has a moist, natural rind with grey, brown or white moulds. It presents the aroma of mushrooms and a mildly spicy flavour.
Known as one of the world’s best blues, this rich cow’s milk cheese is quite zesty, but less complex than Roquefort. The interior is semi-soft, white and creamy, and accentuated with blue-black mould that adds a gritty, salty bite. Quite versatile, Danablu is excellent for all kinds of recipes as it can be sliced, spread or crumbled. As a table cheese, it’s quite nice with fruit, dark breads and red wines. Danablu was first made in the early 20th century by Marius Boel. It is also known as Marmora.
A Danish copy of its great Italian namesake (known properly as Fontina Val d’Aosta), this pale yellow cheese has a mildly sweet flavour. A bit more tart and soft than the Italian original, it’s lovely with a light wine or on a sandwich. It sports a red rind, and like all versions of Fontina, is adored in the kitchen as it melts easily and smoothly in recipes.
Named for its town of origin, this traditional semi-soft cheese has a greasy, yellow-brown rind and a sticky, pale yellow interior with irregular holes. Esrom is mildly pungent, but quite pleasant in taste with a luscious, buttery texture. As it ages, the full flavour intensifies to become more spicy and earthy. This cheese pairs well with dark beer or bold red wines and some versions are flavoured with garlic, onion or pepper. It is also known as Danish Port Salut.
Often referred to as the Danish Tilsit, this semi-soft, pale yellow cheese displays small irregular holes and a lace-like appearance. Mild and tangy when young, Havarti intensifies and sharpens as it ages. It has a natural or washed rind, and a version studded with caraway seeds is quite popular. Havarti comes in loaves or blocks and is often wrapped in foil. It is named for a Danish experimental farm, where it was first developed by a woman named Hanne Nielson.
Perhaps Denmark’s most famous cheese, this rich version of havarti is made with added cream to make it extra soft, buttery and luxurious. Laced with small to mid-sized holes, it’s favoured as a table or dessert cheese, especially when served with fruit and wine. Wonderfully mild in its plain version, cream havarti is also available flavoured with dill, jalapeno pepper, garlic or herbs.
This traditional semi-hard cow’s milk cheese has a natural rind and a pale yellow color. Comparable to Gouda, it has a firm, dry interior with irregular holes and a yellow wax coating. The flavour of Maribo varies with the amount of time it is cured, with longer-cured cheeses carrying a much stronger taste. Named after a town on the island of Lolland, the cheese is sometimes flavoured with caraway seeds.
A Danish version of Gorgonzola, this traditional cow’s milk cheese has a pale, creamy, buttery interior accented with blue-green mould. Mild and aromatic in flavour, it is excellent as a table cheese or for snacks and salads. It is named after the blue mould, Penicillium mycelium, used to make it.
A cross between blue cheese and Brie, this soft, double-cream cheese is comparable to triple-cream cheese in richness. Saga is very mild for a blue, with an edible white mould rind and delicate blue veins. Elegantly mellow flavour, it’s perfect with snacks and salads and lovely as a dessert cheese served with fruit and wine.
The national cheese of Denmark, this Emmental Swiss-style cheese has a supple, elastic texture and a pale yellow interior dotted with irregular holes. Made from cow’s milk, it has a distinctive nutty-sweet flavour, though the Danes prefer it aged, as it turns more sweet-sour. Quite versatile, Samsoe can be used in salads, sandwiches and all kinds of cooked dishes. It was first made in the early 19th century, when the King of Denmark (a cheese lover, himself) invited Swiss cheese makers to Denmark to come and teach their craft. It is named for the island where it originated.