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 cheese monger 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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