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An Ode to Havarti, the Biggest Snub from the Ultimate Cheese Bracket

Last week, we crowned Cheddar the Champion of Cheeses. But there's never a snub-free tournament year, and according to two SI staffers, the magical cheese known as Havarti never even got a fair shot.

Last week, we put together a crucial bracket of 16 cheeses and had readers vote to crown the champion (spoiler Alert: It was cheddar). But a week later, two SI Staffers remain miffed and stunned at the Selection Committee for their blatant disregard of what they consider to be one of the greatest cheeses of all: Havarti. So, they've written their odes to the victim of the Ultimate Snub of the Ultimate Cheese Bracket. 

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An Ode To Havarti, The Proverbial Cloud-Shaped Pillow of the Cheese Family

My wife and I have a somewhat-old tradition that dates back to when we first met:

Burger Fridays.

After eating healthy all week (or at least trying) it would only seem appropriate that Fridays would reward us with a special treat, so we head to the grocery store, buy all the necessary ingredients and enjoy a well-deserved, home-cooked burger.

Now, when it comes to this quintessential American meal, I believe there is only one way the meat should ever be cooked: medium-rare. My wife, however, would disagree.

But that’s for another day. As there is also another choice in our burger eating where we differ: the choice of cheese.

Most people tend to go with American, Swiss, Cheddar, even Provolone if you’re feeling adventurous….but you see, they’re all wrong.

Nothing will ever compare to Havarti.

It’s true, American is the obvious choice as when cooked, it melts faster than a John Legend lyric, but the beauty of Havarti is that its texture is unmatched by anything else, so when it's placed on a burger, the softness is already there. Melting it only adds to the flavor.

Havarti cheese is the Frank Ocean of cheeses. It's smooth, non-threatening and while some traditionalists may not be familiar with its style, it will never ever disappoint.

All Hail the smoothest cat of the cheese family.

And you can keep your cheddar.

—Luis Miguel Echegaray

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Blame the Selection Committee 

Luis is much more poetic than I am waxing on the wonder of Havarti.  I just want to defend it by explaining how this happened.  Havarti is clearly a Top 16 cheese, but it was left out only due to logistics and oversight.

We were originally given a list of 24 cheeses to consider by the seeding committee, and encouraged to use the list provided or add our favorites.  Havarti was inexplicably left off this list, or else I’m confident it would have been considered by more people.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not making the case for Havarti as a Final Four cheese.  But it is a great cheese.  I’ve been to many social functions where they break out the cheese platter with slices of four different cheeses, and the Havarti frequently goes first.  The Time Inc. cafeteria also has a sandwich station right when you walk in, and the roast beef and Havarti on a bun calls my name frequently.


I hate to be the guy who points fingers at coworkers, but if it had been on the initial list it wouldn’t have been out of sight or out of mind.  We could have put it in the bracket, where voters could have taken over and let it go on a dark horse run.  My desperate reply all was not enough to save it.

—Mitch Goldich