Esrom is a variety of semi-soft cheese that is derived from cow’s milk and primarily produced in the Northern European country of Denmark. It is thought to be named after its place of origination — Esrom, Denmark — and is also commonly referred to as Danish port salut cheese. Due to its slightly softened texture and mild flavor, the cheese is generally considered to be versatile and may be cut into pieces, used as a creamy spread, or melted.
The method for making the cheese typically begins with combining cow’s milk with rennet, an enzyme that helps coagulate the milk into a thicker mixture similar to custard. The mixture is then formed into pieces so the liquid, known as whey, can separate from the more solid pieces called curds. The curds are then drained from the whey and lightly pressed to slightly flatten it into a more solid shape, before being allowed to dry out and age for about two weeks to one month. The longer the cheese is allowed to age, the more intense of a flavor it will have.
Esrom cheese is only pressed gently after it is drained, which gives it a semi-soft texture that tends to be pliable; a more firm pressing results in harder textured cheese, such as Parmesan, while even lighter pressing produces a soft cheese like ricotta. The gentle pressing also contributes to the random holes spaced throughout the cheese. The cheese has a brownish yellow appearance on the outside rind, while the inside is a paler yellow color.
The taste of Esrom cheese tends to be considered somewhat mild with a hint of sweet undertones. It is generally not thought to have a pungent flavor. Since it does not have a strong taste, it is often consumed in a variety of ways. It may be served alone as a snack or appetizer, or may be paired with either sweet, such as with fruit, or savory flavors.
In addition to being a main flavor component, Esrom cheese may also be used in a wide range of dishes too. It often is combined with meat and vegetables and stacked on top of a slice of rye bread for an open-faced sandwich, which plays a major role in traditional Danish cuisine. Since the cheese is semi-soft, it is also used in dishes that require melted cheese, such as casseroles, or it may also be spread onto toasted bread or crackers.