Esrom cheese is a great Danish classic that is appreciated and enjoyed both in Denmark and abroad.
The cheese was named in 1962 after Esrum Kloster (monastery) in Northern Zealand. The monks there may have made the cheese for Lent but there are no sources that can testify to this.
What we do know with certainty is that production of Esrom in recent times was prepared at Statens Forsøgsmejeri in the 1930s and started at Midtsjællands Herregårdsmejeri before other dairies were inspired to start producing it.
The lovely, semi-hard cheese with its many small holes and mild, slightly acidulous taste was part of the Danish national dish, the open sandwich (rye bread with many layers of toppings and elaborate garnish). Open sandwiches are now a rare delight, and Esrom has found a natural place in Danes' modern lifestyles.
The special feature of Esrom is its red smear treatment which produces a soft yet cuttable consistency, a delicate and special aroma and a beautiful, orange-yellow rind that can be eaten. It is not without reason that Esrom is now recognised by the EU as being uniquely Danish and has the designation PGI.
The making of Esrom
Esrom is made from fresh milk from cows that live and graze in Denmark. It is a so-called “fished” cheese, which means that the cheese pieces are “fished” up from the cheese vat when the whey is drained off. They are only pressed gently, giving the cheese its many fine, small holes in the cut surface.
Esrom matures fast. For 2-4 weeks it is stored on shelves in cheese stores at fixed temperature and humidity.