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What So Good About Gouda?

Gouda has to be one of the most enduring, delicious and frankly, most flexible cheeses around. It’s the “quintessential” Dutch classic that originated in the town of Gouda. Yes – that’s right, there really is a town called Gouda, and as early as the 12th century Gouda cheeses were already a favourite across the European continent. Gouda is located in South Holland, between Rotterdam and Utrecht but Gouda cheese? Well that you can find just about anywhere but you’ll need a speciality shop like ours to find it in so many flavourful varieties. This “gouda,” old-fashioned, wonderful wheel of cheese is really, really, “Gouda” cheese! (We couldn’t resist!)

Gouda has endured for a number of reasons and one of them is a direct result of its ability to assume a number of different flavour profiles proving popular with a wide variety of palates. Probably one of the reasons Gouda embraces flavour has to do with the founding of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century which truly opened up the spice trade. The Dutch quickly, and in innovative and unique ways, embraced the incorporation of these spices in to their cheese production. Across Europe their cheese became an essential item on any explorer’s shopping list as they took to the high seas and the result is still evident today. With both newer companies like Basiron and originals like Beemster’s, using traditional and non-traditional spices to add interesting flavours to their gouda wheels, the cheese continues to be in demand even now, four centuries later.

A visit to Fromage, on Broadway in Orangeville is almost as good as a voyage on the high seas as a spice trader. That’s because we are currently carrying a number of delicious varieties of Gouda that are elevating cheese to a whole new level. Basiron, a relatively new company we are delighted to feature, have wheels of gouda in Walnut, Wood Garlic and Black Lemon, this last one coloured with charcoal and with notes of both lemon and lime. They also have a Wasabi flavoured wheel and a Pesto Rosso which is red in colour and is literally just like eating pizza! These are just a few examples of what we have in the store for you.

In addition to new Gouda makers, we have examples from tried and true companies too, including Beemster’s. For example, usually arriving in the latter half of May, Beemster’s Graskaas, offers a limited edition cheese made with spring milk which is a deep yellow colour and both creamy and buttery in taste. In the fall, they make a Pumpkin Spice gouda. Here are just a few other things you might like to know about Beemster’s gouda:

  • It takes more than 30 gallons of milk to make one wheel of cheese.

  • Beemster cows graze on grasses from reclaimed lagoons with slate-blue clay soil offering exceptional nutrients. It’s a World Heritage UNESCO site.

  • As the cheese ages and due to the addition of cultures that naturally produce carbon dioxide, the cheese forms “bubbles” which later collapse to form small holes. That’s why Beemster cheese might have holes in it when sliced. The good news is this only adds to the flavour profile as the cheese becomes fruitier, with notes of butterscotch too!

Perhaps your mouth is watering now and if so, you might want to plan a visit to Fromage. With so many flavours of gouda now available in our speciality store, there is sure to be a gouda that’s “gouda” for the whole family! Come in today – we’re your Fine Cheese and Gourmet Food Boutique, offering plenty of gouda cheese varieties plus a whole lot more including items for your charcuterie board, specialty jams and pizza too.