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Gouda
So many Gouda brands, so little time! Gouda with membrillo photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

STEPHANIE ZONIS, Contributing Editor, focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.

 

 

February 2008
Last Updated March 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Best Gouda Brands

Page 5: Reviews Of 13 Gouda Brands

  • Click here to read other months’ Whey To Go columns

 

This is Page 5 of a six-page article on Gouda. Here, we taste 13 Gouda brands.

PART 1: UNDERSTANDING GOUDA

PART 2: TASTING GOUDA

 

Tasting The Goudas

This is a random sampling of the many Goudas (and types of Goudas) available. As is usual with my sit-down, focused tastings, I made sure I had a quiet time to conduct them. My stomach was neither full nor empty. All cheeses were allowed to come to room temperature before tasting.

All Goudas in this tasting were made from cow’s milk, the majority were artisan Goudas from American cheese makers. I sampled no more than six cheeses at any one time and tried to start each tasting session with what I thought would be the mildest Gouda, working my way up to the sample with strongest flavor. I rinsed my mouth thoroughly with water between tastings and waited at least three minutes before trying another cheese. Cheeses are listed in alphabetical order. Our favorites have an asterisk*.

  • Holland’s Family Farm Goudas, Wisconsin. The following five cheeses are all made by this cheesemaker (they make thirteen different flavors of Goudas—The cheeses are made in 13 different varieties: cumin, black pepper, burning nettle, burning mélange, foenegreek, garden herb, Italian herb, mélange, mustard yellow, onion/garlic, smoked and just plain Gouda. They are all sold under the brand Marieke. While all of the cheeses I tried from them were made with pasteurized milk, the company also makes raw milk cheeses (all milk is r-BGH-free). All of their cheeses are farmstead products (a.k.a. boeren kaas). At present, you must e-mail the company to order from them (info@hollandsfamilycheese.com).
  Buckeye Grove Farm Boeren Kaas Gouda
Gouda in its familiar red wax coating. Photo courtesy Dorothy Lane Market.
  • Buckeye Grove Farm Cheese Boeren Kaas Gouda,* Ohio. Red wax coating. A raw Jersey milk, farmstead Gouda from a closed Jersey herd that is hormone free. The cheese is produced “with minimal environmental impact.” This cheese fooled me completely. I had ordered a Gouda about nine months old, and expected a product that showed moderate aging (darker, slightly harder paste, more complex taste, more developed aroma). Although this Gouda is nine months old (I checked with the cheesemakers), the paste is of a pale color (with a few moderately-large holes), the aroma is modest, and the flavor is as gentle as a lullaby. One of the cheesemakers attributes these characteristics to the springtime milk used to make this wheel of cheese, remarking that a cheese made with spring milk tends to be lighter in both color and flavor than one made with summer-autumn milk, even when both have been aged for the same length of time. In any case, this is a fine example of a very creamy, very mild Gouda, without the bitter aftertaste I found in most supermarket varieties. If you want to order it from the farm, you must call to order (see the website for more information) and send a check. At present there is no e-commerce or credit card processing). However, gourmet retailer Dorothy Lane Market, which is located near the farm, sells it online. You can visit the farm in Beallsville, Ohio.
  • Dofino Reserve Gouda, Wisconsin. Black wax coating. This is Gouda that has been aged, but there’s no indication of length of aging. There are a few small holes or “eyes” in the paste, which is of a medium yellow hue. There is some character and depth of flavor but a stronger, more bitter aftertaste that verged on being unpleasant. Supermarket purchase.
  • Holland’s Family Farm Goudas, Wisconsin. The following five cheeses are all made by this cheesemaker (they make thirteen different flavors of Goudas—The cheeses are made in 13 different varieties: cumin, black pepper, burning nettle, burning mélange, foenegreek, garden herb, Italian herb, mélange, mustard yellow, onion/garlic, smoked and just plain Gouda. They are all sold under the brand Marieke. While all of the cheeses I tried from them were made with pasteurized milk, the company also makes raw milk cheeses (all milk is r-BGH-free). All of their cheeses are farmstead products (a.k.a. boeren kaas). At present, you must e-mail the company to order from them (info@hollandsfamilycheese.com).
  Holland's Family Farm Gouda
Cheesemaker Marieke Penterman and her award-winning Foenugreek Gouda. Tours are given at the farm in Thorp, Wisconsin.
 

At the 2007 U.S. Cheese Championship Contest, the Foenugreek† Gouda won Best of Class in the Open Class for Flavored Semi-soft Cheeses.


†Also spelled fenugreek, an Asian herb (Trigonella foenumgraecum) with aromatic seeds used in making curry and other international dishes.

  • Marieke Garden Herb Premium Gouda, Old (aged 1+ years), Wisconsin. Yellow wax coating. The herbs in this cheese (basil, dill, chervil, parsley, celery, and chives) are represented as green flecks, which prettily decorate the paste. At least in the wedge I received, the herbs were concentrated heavily toward the bottom of the cheese. Slight celery aroma. Very concentrated celery-herbal taste, which, to me, overwhelmed any flavor of the cheese.
  • Marieke Mustard Mélange Gouda (aged 4 to 8 weeks),* Wisconsin. Yellow wax coating. A young version of this cheese, with a cream-colored paste and whole mustard seeds distributed nicely throughout. A slight mustard aroma with a subtle mustard presence overall.
  • Marieke Mustard Melange Gouda, Old (aged 9 to 12 months),* Wisconsin. Yellow wax coating. The paste of this cheese is of a straw-like color, similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but not as dark; the paste has mustard seeds scattered throughout. A much stronger mustard aroma than its younger cousin, with a definite, but not biting, mustard presence. Bring on the beer!
 
Marieke Gouda Marieke makes Gouda in 13 flavors.

  • Marieke Onion Garlic Gouda (aged 4 to 6 months), Wisconsin. Orangey wax coating. Orange flecks show up well against the creamy interior of the cheese. Faint onion aroma. Both onion and garlic tastes dominate here.
  • Marieke Plain Premium Gouda, Old (aged 1+ year), Wisconsin.* Yellow wax coating. This Gouda has taken on some of the characteristics of a more mature cheese. The texture is a little harder (though still easy to slice), and the paste is more of an amber than a yellow color; there were a few tyrosines (amino acid crystals) in the paste, too. Not much aroma. Saltier than a younger Gouda, but the salt level isn’t excessive. A solidly good example of a maturing cheese.

Continue To Page 6: Tasting 13 Goudas, Part 2

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