AS SOFT AS IT IS STRONG, The Har­nett is one se­ri­ous player in the world of stinky cheese. It’s also a cheese that na­ture did its best to stop a cou­ple of years ago with the Kaik­oura earth­quake, but it’s hard to keep a good washed-rind down, es­pe­cially when it’s made by the good folks at Kaik­oura Cheese. The Har­nett is a soft washed-rind cheese that sits at the stronger end of the smelly cheese spec­trum. Sport­ing a com­plex coat of sur­face moulds, this is a washed-rind that re­flects its ter­roir, its place. Made from lo­cally sourced cow’s milk, The Har­nett is usu­ally one of the soft­est cheeses in the fridge at C’est Cheese. It’s also one of the most pop­u­lar. The mot­tled ex­te­rior gives way to a flow­ing yel­low paste that cries out for some crusty bread. Soft and flow­ing The Har­nett may be, the taste how­ever is one of cured meat or even slightly gamey with a hint of blue. The flavour pro­file changes as the cheese ages, be­com­ing more ac­cen­tu­ated. I know when my Har­nett’s ar­rived – the courier says “I wouldn’t sign for this one mate, it stinks! Must be off.” I smile and gladly sign the de­liv­ery slip.

Paul Broughton is the owner and cheese­mon­ger at C’est Cheese, NZ cheese spe­cial­ists lo­cated in Feather­ston. Paul is also the owner and cheese­maker at Re­mu­taka Pass Cream­ery.

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