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The land of tulip fields, Holland, or the Netherlands, is also known as the world’s largest cheese exporter nowadays. Among the Dutch cheeses the well-deserved first place undoubtedly belongs to Gouda, one of the most enjoyed and imitated cheeses.
The first records about the original Dutch Gouda cheese trace back to the year 1184. It is named after the town of Gouda that obtained special monopoly rights on cheese trade. The town held a weekly event called kaasmarkt (or cheese market) when the farmers from neighboring areas would gather to weigh and set prices for their products. So, the Dutch could know for sure where to buy Gouda cheese, and they certainly liked it a lot, because the tradition has been kept until today. The ceremony of weighing the local artisan cheeses still takes place in Gouda in the summer months.
The term “Gouda cheese” generally refers to the original cheesemaking technology. The cheese properties largely depend on the time it is aged after undergoing the special manufacturing process. The first two steps of curdling the milk and removing the whey are followed by the “washing”. This is when some hot water is added to heat the curd. So, adding hot water helped increase the temperature of the curds and hence release more whey. The curds are then pressed and put into molds to give the cheese its recognizable shape of a wheel. After being soaked in a brine solution, the pressed cheese is left to dry for a few days. Finally, it is aged from 1 month to several years.
Aged Gouda is a semi-hard or hard cheese coated in wax rind of different colors denoting its age: younger cheeses usually have yellow or red rinds, while more mature ones are covered with a black rind. As the cheese ripens, it develops tiny crystals of natural lactic acid which make its texture more crunchy and brittle. The younger Gouda is creamier and milder. As it ages, its flavor becomes denser, its sweetness and fruitiness get tangier, and its creaminess turns to piquant nuttiness.
Traditional Gouda is also complemented by four varieties including:
Baby Gouda: these are small wheels of cheese coated with red wax;
Smoked Gouda: it is traditionally smoked in a brick oven over natural hickory chips acquiring richer scent and more pungent taste;
Flavored Goudas are sprinkled with herbs, spices, garlic or walnut;
Goat’s Milk Gouda has velvet texture and slightly sharper taste.
Although you are unlikely to find Gouda among the types of soft cheese, it still possesses their smoothness and butteriness. It is equally fabulous when served on a cheeseboard as a fine appetizer, grated over your macaroni and baked potatoes, or complemented with fresh fruit to become a dainty dessert. Besides, it is the main hero of the Dutch Fondue. It also shines perfectly with a wide range of beverages: strong beers, red fruity wines and teas.
So, if you are going to buy aged cheese, but still cannot choose one, we are glad to meet your demands and offer you the product of the highest quality. Please, check our classic Gouda and smoked Gouda price at our online cheese store.