Cheese Profile: Gouda Makes Everything Betta

Does your grilled cheese need a pick me up? Looking for a new approach to mac-n-cheese? Gouda cheese really can make everything betta…*cough* I mean better. This semi-hard cheese can revolutionize many of your favorite cheesy recipes and add gourmet flavor with zero extra effort. Because the strength of gouda’s flavor increases with age, different goudas will yield different flavor profiles in your recipes.

While young goudas are usually described as mild in flavor with a creamy texture, aged goudas are said to be simultaneously sharp and sweet and reminiscent of toffee, caramel, nuts, and/or butter. Aged goudas have a smooth texture with an occasional crunch from crystallized lactic acid formed during aging, and may crumble or flake when cut.

Unlike some other cheeses, the name “Gouda” is not protected. Thus the name refers to a general style of cheesemaking, rather than a specific process or cheese. Gouda’s namesake originates in the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. The city of Gouda has been home to a robust cheese market dating back to the Middle Ages – a tradition so longstanding that regional farmers still travel to the city every Thursday from June to August. The earliest written reference to Gouda goes all the way back to the year 1184, which makes Gouda one of the oldest known cheeses in the world. That may explain its internationally popularity: of all the cheese consumed worldwide, gouda accounts for 50-60% of the total.

Traditionally made with cow’s milk, this yellow cheese is excellent for melting. It is also exceptional on sandwiches or served cubed or sliced as part of a cheese plate. In the Netherlands, gouda is sometimes served with mustard and other times topped with sugar. Young goudas pair well with beers, while aged goudas go best with wine. But before you get ahead of yourself and choose a beverage, first choose a recipe:

Creamy Avocado and Gouda Cheese Pasta
Smoked Gouda and Roasted Red Pepper Grilled Cheese
Smoked Gouda and Leek Tart
Mac-n-Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower
Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Smoked Gouda Risotto with Kale and Mushrooms
Mushroom, Sweet Potato, and Smoked Gouda Chowder
French Onion Grilled Cheese
Piled Portobello Gouda Burgers with Roasted Garlic

For more information and additional serving suggestions, be sure to check out the Gouda article on strongertogether.coop. Here at the co-op, we offer a Wisconsin-made Hickory Smoked Gouda and an Extra Aged Gouda imported from Holland, both of which are sure to melt over your next dish in a loving, cheesy embrace. And on that note, it’s time for a grilled cheese...