The fact that The Netherlands is known as cheese country is widely known. Its inhabitants are locally known as ´kaaskoppen´ what translates into ´cheese heads´. But did you know that the Netherlands is the world's largest exporter of cheese, butter and dairy products? Approximately 650 million kilos of cheese is produced each year. And that on average Dutch people eat more than 14 kilos of cheese per person per year? Time to learn more about Dutch cheese. And especially Gouda cheese. You can find this classic cheese in the store of Super Lekker, imported directly from the Netherlands.
The Dutch cheese culture goes back to the Middle Ages and fully flourished in the 17th century. Because of the long culture of cheese making, the Netherlands has a reputation to uphold and the art is polished down to the last detail. The first report of Gouda cheese dates back to 1184, making it the oldest registered cheese that is still made today. Gouda cheese has been made for centuries and the craft is often passed on from father to son. Of course the recipe has been refined over the years, which has made for the tasty Gouda cheese as we know it today. A funny fact is that Gouda cheese does not has this name because it is made in Gouda, but because it was originally traded there. You can still find cheese markets in the Dutch cheese capitals Gouda, Alkmaar and Edam.
Gouda cheese quality mark
Real Gouda cheese can be recognized by the 'Gouda cheese quality label'. This quality mark guarantees cheese made from 100% Dutch milk, according to authentic recipe where the cheese is matured on wooden boards and of course regularly turned. And all that in the Netherlands. All this ensures the quality of Gouda Cheese. The Gouda Holland quality seal was created to monitor and protect the name and quality of Gouda cheese. Of course you will find only Gouda cheese with this quality mark at Super Lekker!
Maturation and taste
Gouda Holland cheese is made on Dutch soil, with the cheeses ripening on wooden boards for at least 4 weeks in The Netherland. But how exactly is a cheese made? The main ingredient is, of course, milk, to which starter and rennet are added. This ensures that cheese gets a tasty flavor, makes it durable and ensures its firmness. The result is called curd. The curd is then heated and cut in a large container with rotating knives. Craftsmanship is required to ensure that the cheese gets its characteristic flavor and does not become brittle. The curd is then pressed into a barrel so that the cheese gets its round shape. By squeezing the curd in the barrel, the outside is immediately closed, which is the first step in the formation of the crust of the cheese. During this step, the cheese will also receive the Gouda cheese quality mark, with each cheese having its own number. Subsequently, the compressed cheese is dipped in a brine bath, where the salt ensures that the cheese has a longer shelf life. After this it is time to ripen the cheese. The duration of this determines the characteristic taste of the cheese. The longer the cheese matures, the drier and spicier the taste becomes. For example, young cheese has a maturation time of 4 weeks, old cheese has been lying on the shelves for at least a year. During ripening, it is important to turn the cheese regularly so that the shape is maintained.
Do you want to try the delicious taste of the Gouda cheese yourself? Check out the extensive range of Gouda cheeses with different ripening times that Super Lekker offers!