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2 Ways to Try Havarti Cheese for the First Time

1 Jan

havarti sandwichHavarti is a semi-soft table cheese with Danish origins. Made from cow’s milk, it’s incredibly versatile because it can be sliced for sandwiches, cooked on the grill, or melted in a sauce.

Havarti, like most varieties of cheeses, is made through a curdling process. These curds are first forced into the molds, then drained. Next, the cheese is properly aged and then washed, helping give it the refined flavor popular with so many.

Havarti is ripened on the interior and has no rinds. The cheese can be yellow or a creamy color and it has small uneven holes in it, known sometimes as “eyes.”

This particular cheese has a sharp taste to it in some varieties and has a buttery smell to it, similar to Swiss. The taste is very delicate and buttery, too, and also somewhat acidic and can be sweet. To get a slight hazelnut flavor, the cheese is aged for about 3 months. Havarti goes well with so many recipes like paninis, sandwiches and cheese platters as it becomes very soft when left out at room temperature.

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Tasty Recipe for Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

28 Dec

Blue cheese can be used to completely change up your tired old stand-by recipes, from stuffed chicken and burgers to pancakes and steak. This simple recipe is a great way to try blue cheese for the first time or get the whole family to enjoy something new mixed into a classic recipe.

Mac and Bleu Cheese with Crumbled Bacon

Macaroni and cheese recipes are usually made with Cheddar or American cheese. Unfortunately, this can get old quickly and it’s really suited to a child’s taste, not an adult’s palate. This is one of those cheese recipes that allows you to introduce people — including your children — to something new by pairing it with a familiar taste: Cheddar. The taste of the Gruyere and bleu cheese goes so well with the salty bacon and this recipe is always a hit.


4 ounces of bacon, thick-sliced style

Vegetable oil for cooking pasta

Kosher salt, to taste

2 cups of elbow macaroni, uncooked

1 and a half cups milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

3 ounces grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese

2 ounces Castello crumbled Danish Blue

Dash of nutmeg, ground pepper and salt

2 slices of white sandwich bread with the crusts removed, or bread crumbs

2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

2. Bake bacon in the oven until crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. When cool, crumble and set aside.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent sticking.

4. Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, watching carefully so it doesn’t boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a separate pot and add in the flour, whisking until incorporated. Cook the butter and flour over low for about two minutes while whisking.

5. Add the warm milk to the flour mixture and continue whisking until smooth and thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat and add all three cheeses, the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta and crumbled bacon and stir. Pour into a prepared baking dish.

6. Pulse the bread in a food processor until crumbled; add basil and pulse once more to incorporate. Sprinkle crumbs over the pasta and bake around 40 minutes or until browned.

More excellent recipes for blue cheese are available at Castello USA.

Substituting Cheeses in Your Favorite Recipe — From Edam to Gouda

2 Dec

Cheese VarietiesWant to spice up your favorite cheese recipes by switching out the old stand-bys cheddar and mozzarella for something more exotic? Whether you’re preparing a casserole, chicken off the grill or a delicious skillet meal for your family, try using some of these cheeses instead to try something new and delicious.

Instead of Cheddar Try…
Cheddar cheese is the most commonly eaten cheese in the world, although many cooks throughout the world would not think of using Cheddar in their favorite recipes. The next time you’re making mac and cheese or anything else that calls for Cheddar, try another cheese such as havarti, gouda or Gruyere.

Havarti cheese is a semi-soft variety originally from Denmark. This tasty cheese has a buttery aroma and taste that’s slightly sweet, although it can take on hazelnut tastes as it ages. The fun thing about using havarti in a recipe instead of Cheddar is it adds a more grown-up taste to your favorite dish without an overpowering flavor or aroma. You can also try Dofino havarti cheese in many flavors, including jalapeno, caraway, smoked and the popular Havarti with dill.

Gouda cheese, on the other hand, is very versatile with a mild flavor. It melts very well so it’s a great choice for recipes and casseroles. This semi-hard cheese originated in the  Netherlands and also comes in many varieties if you want to spice up your recipe. Young gouda is mild while aged gouda has a strong aroma. You can also try gouda with chili lime, chipotle or pesto flavor.

Instead of Mozzarella Try…
Tired of using mozzarella for everything? There are two cheeses that make great replacements: stracchino and havarti. Before you throw mozzarella into your casserole again, try using one of these cheeses for an interesting new flavor.

Stracchino cheese comes from the Italian word stracca, which means tired. This cheese is very young with a creamy texture and a very mild flavor. The cheese gets its name because the milk was taken from cows who were coming down into the pastures during the fall, as it was believed their milk was richer in fat.

Any type of havarti also goes well in most cheese recipes, whether you want something mild or something with a kick, like Havarti with Jalapeno.

Instead of Provolone Try…
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese produced in Italy, Japan and the United States. This type of cheese is popular on pizzas, casseroles and sandwiches. Want to try something new? Try switching out the provolone for Dofino Edam cheese, which is very subtle and salty with a wonderful nutty flavor. Edam can be a little difficult to find but it goes so well with dark beers, Zinfandel wine, pasta, casseroles and hot sandwiches. Make sure you look for it before you turn to provolone again!

Easy to Make Blue Cheese Fritters

29 Nov

Fritters can be made from nearly any food that’s covered in batter and deep-fried, although it sometimes goes by another name. Shrimp tempura, for example, is basically a fritter although it uses meat instead of vegetables or cheese. Fritters are so much fun to make because you can really let your imagination go wild! This recipe is a really interesting take on the classic fritter, which usually uses apple or banana.

If you’re looking for a really easy appetizer or side dish, this is by far one of the best blue cheese recipes I’ve made. Give these savory blue cheese fritters a try when you have company coming over or you want to introduce your family to something new!

Easy Blue Cheese Fritters


  • 14 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces finely diced chives
  • 4 ounces corn starch
  • 1.5 ounces baking powder
  • 4 cups beer (may substitute Sprite)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 20 ounces Castello Soft Blue Cheese
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, cornstarch, chopped chives, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in beer or Sprite and mix well.
2. Refrigerate batter overnight.
3. Divide the blue cheese into about 30 pieces and roll into balls. Refrigerate until slightly firm. Remove batter from fridge.
4. Dip blue cheese balls into batter until completely coated.
5. Carefully drop the fritters into the oil and cook for about one minute.
6. Cook fritters evenly and use a spoon to transfer onto paper towels. Allow to drain and cool before eating.

Nutritional Information
Per serving (two fritters)
450 calories
26g total fat
28 mg cholesterol
602g total carbohydrates
1.5g fiber
12.5g protein

Recipe Suggestions
Want to mix this recipe up a bit? Here are some more ideas you can try.

  • Try using 2 parts blue cheese to 1 part grated Parmesan cheese. This adds a really interesting texture and a saltier taste.
  • Season the cheese with oregano or lemon juice.
  • If you haven’t quite acquired a taste for blue cheese recipes yet, try making these fritters with 8 parts cream cheese to 2 parts blue cheese. This is a much lighter fritter and you can use reduced fat cream cheese to reduce the calories.
  • You can substitute the bread crumbs for Panko bread crumbs for a finer texture. You can also try seasoned bread crumbs if you want a little more flavor!
  • Mix slivered almonds and sweet red bell pepper into the blue cheese for a gourmet appetizer.

3 Great Recipes for Edam Cheese

26 Oct

Edam CheeseEdam cheese is from the Edam region of North Amsterdam that’s made from part-skimmed milk. It has a fat content of about 40% and you’ll usually find it with a black or waxy red skin. This cheese is similar to Gouda, which is also a Dutch cheese, although it’s lighter and tarter. It’s also slice-able yet ideal for melting in sauces and soups. The taste is often described as mild, nutty or mellow, although it can have a salty taste as well.

If you’ve never tried Edam cheese before, there are quite a few ways to experience this delicious variety of cheese. It pairs very well with wine and sweet fruits, although you can also use it in your favorite gouda recipes for an interesting new flavor. Here are 3 excellent cheese recipes to try with Edam.

Chicken and Pasta with Edam and White Wine
This recipe is a great way to try Edam for the first time. It pairs very nicely with the chicken and white wine and doesn’t take too long to put together. I recommend serving this dish with a fresh salad lightly drizzled with olive oil so you don’t detract from the rich flavor.


  • 8 ounces of pasta, cooking according to package directions
  • 4 large chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 ounces Edam cheese, grated
  • 12 sweet basil leaves, sliced thinly

1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour. Fry until lightly browned on all sides. Use tongs to transfer chicken to a plate.
3. Add garlic and onion to the remaining oil and cook, stirring often, until softened.
4. Pour in white wine and boil, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to half.
5. Add diced tomatoes with juice, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar.
6. Return chicken to pot and stir gently. Boil over medium heat until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
7. Transfer chicken to a plate, add pasta the sauce and toss well. Divide among individual pasta bowls and top with chicken. Smother chicken with grated Edam cheese. If desired, place the dish under a hot broiler to brown the cheese. Garnish with sweet basil leaves.

Edam Cheese Souffle
This recipe for warm cheese souffle is really easy, even if you’ve never made souffle before. Make sure you include the bacon; the flavors mingle together wonderfully!


  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 teaspoons flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne powder

Cheese Mixture:

  • 3 ounces Dofino Edam cheese
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 egg whites, whipped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 pound small brunoise of Nueske Bacon

Finely grated Parmesan
1. Bring the milk to a bowl. Heat the butter in a different pan over medium heat; add flour and cook without browning until the mixture bubbles. Slowly add hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the texture is thick and smooth and boiling begins. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
2. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Add egg yolks, salt, pepper and cayenne.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Butter the edges of a souffle ramekin and sprinkle finely grated Parmesan around the ramekin. Prepare a warm bath for the souffle and heat in the oven.
5. Melt cream cheese, butter and Edam in a bowl. Add Bechamel to the cheese mixture and use a spatula to fold in the the whipped egg whites.
6. Dice the Nueske Bacon into tiny pieces and saute until crisp. Drain fat and place on a dry paper towel.
7. Fill the ramekin with the mixture to the top and clean the edges. Bake the souffle by placing the ramekin in the water bath for 15 minutes until it puffs 1″ above the ramekin. Remove the souffle from the oven to cool and place one tablespoon of the bacon in the center.

Cheesy Potato Salad
I love potato salad because it’s so versatile. This is one of my favorite cheese recipes because it adds a whole new taste to the classic potato salad by using Edam cheese, along with fresh dill. The taste is very fresh and complex although the dish goes together very quickly.


  • 1 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup scallions, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Edam cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup cucumber, cubed
  • 1/2 cup radishes, sliced thinly

1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold, salted water. Cook potatoes until tender; drain and cool completely.
2. Create dressing by combining sour cream, yogurt, scallions, dill, celery seed, mustard, sugar, pepper and salt.
3. Cut potatoes into small cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour dressing over potatoes and add Edam cheese, cucumber and radishes. Toss to blend and chill until ready to serve.

The Many Ways to Use Havarti Cheese

1 Sep

Havarti CheeseHavarti cheese was mainly used for dessert by the Danish people. The cheese is named after a farm from where it was first made in the 19th Century. It is mild, partly firm and partly soft in nature with holes on it that is not regular. Just like any other type of cheese, they are made from milk which is caused to curdle by adding rennet to it. Molds of cheese are then combined with the produced curds after which they are pressed and then drained before they are finally aged. It is available in a variety of flavors that range from a distinct strong aromatic taste to one that is sharp and mild on the tongue.

Normally, the duration for aging this creamy cheese is approximately 3 months after which it is fully flavored. A taste that is more distinct is achieved by aging the curdled milk for longer periods of time. It can be given various additives in order to achieve different end products of the same cheese. Spices, seasonings, seeds of caraway, dill, extra cream, cumin, peppers or even any other desired herbs can be added to the Havarti cheese to produce a yummy end product. Its versatility enables it to be used for various purposes and as a table cheese it can be grilled and even sliced. You can also melt it and use it as a snack or even apply in your sandwiches if you so wish.

Sandwich with Havarti CheeseThe creamy cheese is normally sold in blocks that are plain and its flavor is mainly contributed to the fact that it is a cheese cleaned with rind. Apart from being creamy, the Havarti cheese can also be pale yellow in color with a fine texture and flavor that is almost like that of butter. This fine cheese can be served with wine or crackers or even fresh fruits as preferred. If you are looking for cheese with less flavor unlike the Emmentaler and Gouda cheeses, then this is just what you need.

You can select from the product type with low level of fat or the one that is fully enriched with cream. Whatever the cheese recipe to be used, it should be one that can accommodate the various degree of flavor in the chosen cheese. The herbed, enriched and low fat Havarti have become very popular in various parts of the globe due to their advantages and prominence over the other kinds of cheese available in the market.

How to Pick a Good Cheese

1 Sep

Cheese PlatterPicking a good cheese is largely dependent upon an individual’s taste. With endless possibilities to be found in your grocer’s refrigerated section, or even at the local cheese store, it can be difficult to know what to look for when picking a cheese. There are several different kinds of cheese – soft cheese, hard cheese, creamy cheese and each one may contain different types of animal milk. The most commonly used milk is that of a cow, but it is not uncommon to also see goat’s and sheep’s milk being used in several varieties of cheese. Here are some tips to help you pick out a good cheese whether you simply want to incorporate it into dinner or you are having a party where a good cheese selection is part of the offerings.

Ask an Expert

If you are lucky enough to have a local cheese store nearby, you can benefit from asking an expert. Most people who own their stores have taken the time to get to know the individual varieties of cheeses as well as the distinguishable features of each. An expert, for example, can help you understand the difference between the several varieties of blue cheese that are available for purchase. Some blue cheeses are mild while others are pungent and each is likely to complement a separate type of food or wine. This is because of the aging process, the type of milk – cow, goat or sheep – that was used and the type of mold that is present within the cheese.

Taste Several Varieties

Cheese PlatterWhen it comes to picking a good cheese, buying several different ones to taste can become quite costly. Rather, find a shop that will allow you to taste their cheese prior to purchase. You will not likely find this service in a grocery store, as they are already prepackaged for sale, but visiting a cheese shop or even a farmer’s market can turn you on to cheeses that you otherwise would not have tasted, let alone bought. In the case of blue cheese, try the several different brands available including:

  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort
  • Stilton
  • Cabrales

Each of these cheeses is made in different countries and can be used in many cheese recipes. Only by tasting the differences, will you be able to tell which cheese will be good for your purpose. Blue cheese is amazingly versatile and can be used as an addition to a meal or by itself on a cheese platter.