Aged Gouda Cheese

July 8, 2008 16 Comments

Aged Gouda Cheese

Buying Aged Gouda Cheese

Every once in a while you meet someone who really, really knows their stuff about a particular food topic and a couple of weeks ago I meet this guy Jack at our local farmers market in the cheese area and we get to talking. Jack is a colorful guy who tells it like it is and doesn’t care if you like what he has to say or not. As soon as we started talking, I knew I could learn a boatload from him.

I sampled a taste of aged Gouda cheese at a charity event to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an incredible group of people whose goal is to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer “one cup at time.” Many of you may have heard of Alex’s foundation but if not, I highly recommend you visit their site and read more about them and make a contribution. It is a wonderful cause and I will write about the event in a future blog.

Back to Aged Gouda Cheese

Most of us have enjoyed some form of Gouda cheese in our lives. It is a yellow cheese made from cow’s milk and is often found with the red or yellow paraffin wax coating in the supermarket. It gets its name from the city of Gouda in the Netherlands where it originated.

Gouda as a young cheese is easy to slice and may be great to serve to the kids in their lunch packs but just doesn’t have that much flavor. It’s great if you enjoy a mild, mellow flavored cheese but if you want a much more distinct flavor, you’ll want to try aged Gouda.

Aged Gouda has a wonderful distinctive flavor that can be both sharp and sweet – think of butterscotch. It is a hard cheese that doesn’t come in the red wax covering, but a natural buff colored rind. The cheese itself has an amber color that Jack explained to me comes from a coloring agent called annatto that gives it the pale orange color.

I read in one of my favorite cheese books, Cheese Primer, that some cheeses “once had a natural orange hue caused by the vitamin D that cows ingested from grazing on green plants. But winter milk comes from cows that are fed silage, and the cheeses that result from this milk are white.”

So the cheese makers started adding food coloring like annatto to the milk so they would look the same year round. Jack explained to me “all cheese are naturally cream colored and many use coloring for eye appeal.”

The Short of It

Country: Netherlands

Milk Type: Cow

Cheese Type: Hard

Color: Pale Orange

Taste: sharp and sweet

Age: 4-8 years

Aged Gouda

When I asked Jack about aged Gouda, he pulled out several selections for me to try. Each sample was older than the next. There was 4-year-old cheese that he called Hollander, a 6 – 8 year old Gouda and a 4 – 5 year old “farmer’s cheese” also called Boerenkaas made from whole, raw cows milk. They were all delicious but I chose the Hollander to buy.

All of these cheeses had a distinctive sweet and salty taste with a hint of butterscotch at the finish. Their colors were all deep amber to burnt orange and the textures were very similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. In fact, Jack told me many of his customers use these aged Goudas as a substitute for Parmesan cheese for grating.

What to Drink with Aged Gouda

We all know the Dutch love their beer and make some of the best beers in the world. Jack said these aged Goudas are perfect to serve with strong Dutch beer as well as fruity red wines and tea.

I highly recommend you give this cheese a try if you can find it in your local cheese shop and then tell us about your experience with it in the comments section below.

Last modified on Sun 15 December 2013 2:24 am

Filed in: Hard Cheeses

Comments (16)

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  1. Nicole Snyder says:

    I admit, I am a huge fan of aged gouda! I had hoped to see more wine-food pairing suggestions in this article but I suppose it is not incredibly difficult for me to pair off of that delight butterscotch note you mention. For a light fall picnic I am thinking dense grain bread, aged Gouda, and apples or pears would do well, maybe even hard pear or apple cider! Does anyone have any ideas for wine? I am personally drawn to sweet wines being a Michigan native, but maybe it would be overkill with the sweetness of the cheese? Just thinking aloud, please tell your friends and family to try aged Gouda you won’t be disappointed!

    Great idea for a follow up post. I’ll work on it and thank you for your suggestions. They sound just right. – RG

    • Westcott says:

      A Belgium ale is at the top of the list. A red wine would be second. A full bodied Pino Griggio (Vaneto or a Collio) if they do not care for the two former suggestions.

  2. dolores kesemere says:

    How do you get the rind off aged Gouda?

    Hi Dolores, not sure what you are asking. I purchase Gouda in wedges and just cut the cheese off the wedge and toss the rind when it’s all gone. – RG

  3. Michael Peretz says:

    AGED GOUDA IS A TRUE PLEASURE. THE NUTTY FLAVOR IS OUTSTANDING. I LIVE IN FLORIDA AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I CANNOT FIND IT. DO YOU KNOW WHERE IN THE SARASOTA AREA IT IS SOLD?

    Hi Michael, I would check with your local cheese shops and if they don’t have it, ask them to get some for you. I’m surprised it isn’t more available. I’m starting to even see it in some supermarkets. – RG

  4. Pam says:

    Is it OK to store aged Gouda un refrigerated?

    Great question Pam. Me, I personally wrap all my cheeses back in the wax paper I purchase them in if I’m going to eat them in the next day or two and store in the refrigerator. If I know I won’t be eating them for a couple of days, I wrap them in plastic first and if I know I won’t get to them for a while, I vacuum seal them. This is not how many cheese experts tell you how to handle your cheese, but it works for me. Now saying that, I asked my current cheese person, Bill from DiBruno’s, and here is what he had to say:

    “Google “refrigeration” and see how long its been around. Cheeses have been around for thousands of years. Really excellent Goudas and provolones never need refrigeration. As aged Gouda mature, they lose moisture and the fats become “crystalides” which are salt granules that people think are mold. In answer to your other questions: if the person at the counter is trying to impress you with the age of the Gouda they’re fooling you. Make sure you taste. The cheese speaks for itself.”

    Thanks Bill. I’m hoping Bill starts contributing some more about his experience in the cheese world. – RG

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I love this cheese and just bought a good wedge. I also found that it goes well with any beer! I served it with crakers and a good mango chutney.

    I find that it also subs well for parm and carries away a twice baked potato.

  6. Fred says:

    It’s addictive. Absolutely the best tasting cheese I have ever had. I’m going to try substituting it for parm on my pasta after reading the posts. Thanks.

  7. Greta says:

    I grew up eating Gouda and love the aged as well. To get the rind off, I use my very good cheese knife and just “slice” it off the way that you would slice off a slice of the cheese. I also have “traveled” with the cheese and it does just find out of the refrigerator for a time. It will also keep in the refrigerator for quite a long time – it is aged after all. Enjoy!

  8. DE MARINO says:

    I LOVE ALL KINDS OF CHEESE. COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT. I MAKE MUFFINS AND AD SMOKED GOUDA TO THEM AND THEY ARE WOUNDERFUL. BUT THEN I PUT CHEESE IN EVERYTHING. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR RECIPES.

  9. Carol says:

    I had Gouda cheese down in florida and it had these sea salt crystals inside it. When I would take a bite it had a slight crunch to it I’m guessing from the crystals. Would you know what kind of brand has it or where I could find it? I know it’s aged Gouda cheese. Thank you if you can help me

    • Westcott says:

      That is not sea salt. Those are crystals that form from the aging process of the cheese. The calcium lactate (milk) cyrstalizes over a long enough period of time.

  10. Rad Welles says:

    bought 4 year aged gouda in New Zealand. Heavenly. 2 pounds disappeared into happy mouths in a month. Should have bought a whole wheel so I am looking for something more accessible now i am back in Oregon

  11. Jane says:

    When you cut off the rind, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. It is a wonderful seasoning when making virtually any type of soup. Just drop it in during the process and let the good flavor mingle with the broth. Then later, just remove whatever is left of it to discard. It adds a lot to ANY soup.

  12. Ann says:

    Where can I buy aged Gouda say 4 years old from uk ??

  13. Westcott says:

    I have eaten Gouda my whole life but I wanted to try something different so I splurged and bought some 4 year old Gouda at Central Market here in Houston. The calcium lactate crystals add a great texture, as well as,a unique flavor to the cheese. Just takes the complexity to another level. Wonderful.

    Have a date tonight. Going to buy some more. I will have it with a Trappist Belgium Ale and she will be drinking a full bodied Pino Grigio from Collio (she does not care for red wine). A little Jamon Iberico Bellota and some other tasty morsels to make the evening pass without interruption. I am really looking forward to sharing.

  14. Andrew says:

    I live in Philadelphia, and have recently discovered Wilde Weide Gouda. Let me say, it is absolutely divine. It is imported from Essex Street Cheese Co. based in New York.

    It can be difficult to find, but the buttery, nutty, slightly sharp flavor that literally melts on your tongue is next to none. It’s aged for 15 months, and it certainly shows when it hits your taste buds.

    Di Bruno Brothers is my go-to cheese shop in Philly. They have several locations, and I have to call in advance to ensure they have it in stock, as it does come in limited quantities and is very popular.

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