Gouda Cheese in Netherlands
Whenever you think about taking home a souvenir from the Netherlands, the first thing that comes to your mind is: a figurine of a windmill, wooden shoes and, of course, cheese. Particularly, there’s a Dutch region whose name, Gouda, has become worldly famous thanks to the creamy and decadent cheese that’s produced there. In fact, Gouda cheese represents almost 60% of the cheese consumed around the world!
Varieties of Gouda Cheese
This product is made with pasteurized cow milk, although certain artisanal versions are prepared with sheep or even goat cheese. In that sense, for example, you can buy a Boerenkaas, a variety of Gouda cheese that’s not pasteurized and is prepared with free grazing cow milk, or an Overjarig, an aged golden cheese with an intense flavor. However, DINKtravelers recommends a Graskaas, young Gouda that’s consumed only weeks after its production and for which you can choose an exquisite wine pairing such as a Riesling or a Chenin Blanc.
Cheese Shops in Amsterdam
Even though Gouda, south of the Netherlands, is the main producer of its namesake cheese, you’ll find multiple cheese stores all around the country, including its capital, Amsterdam. For this reason, simply let yourself be lured by the giant wax covered wheels that are exhibited on the storefronts, and visit multiple shops because practically in all of them they offer tastings of all the different Gouda versions including natural, with basil, pepper, tomato, mustard or with fruit compotes.
Without doubt, visiting the cheese boutiques is a visual pleasure but also a gastronomic joy, so you’ll surely leave with a handful of cheese packages that you’ll want to take home. Fortunately, you won’t have any trouble telling apart the varieties that have a milder taste, which are wrapped in yellow, orange or red wax from those with a stronger taste –aged cheese– which are wrapped in black wax.
Cheese Market in Gouda
When you travel to Gouda, visit the weekly cheese market, as well as the Waag –weighing house– that is now a museum. There you’ll see Gouda preparation demonstrations, and you’ll even get the chance to be weighed on a cheese scale! Then, for the silver lining, don’t miss the opportunity to see the colorful stained glass windows of the Grote Kerk or Great Church of St. John, the biggest cross-shaped church in the Netherlands.
How to Store Gouda Cheese
You can keep Gouda in the fridge for up to a month, but once opened, wrap it in waxed paper and keep it in an airtight container.
Edam Cheese vs Gouda Cheese
Edam cheese is also from the Netherlands and it’s very similar to Gouda in terms of taste although it has a lower fat content.