There is simply too much cheese to choose from!!!!! The cheese vendors at the markets are always busy, perhaps because they always have lots of samples out front! We have mostly been eating a Gouda type with cumin seeds, and I found a very good goat ‘gouda’ at the local supermarket which is white. They do not add any colouring to the cheese here, the difference in the colors of goat and cow cheese is due to the fact that the cows produce carotene when they eat and digest the grass whereas the goats do not!
Holland’s history of cheese making extends back to the time of Julius Caesar. Indeed, it seems the number of dairy animals in Holland may rival the number of tulip bulbs in the fields. The Dutch have integrated flowers and various types of cheese into their lives, entwining them with festivals all year round. Cheese making and cheese carrying guilds have had a solid spot in Dutch life and the Dutch economy for centuries. Here is a Dutch cheese primer….
The ages: New > matured for 4 weeks
Semi-matured > matured for 8 weeks
Matured > matured for 4 months
Extra matured > matured for 7 months
Fully mature cheese > matured for 10 months
Very aged > matured for 1 year or longer
Types of cheese:
Gouda cheese …The Netherlands’ most famous and important type of cheese. It has a round and flat form, and weighs about 12 kilos.
Edam cheese …The well-known spherical cheese, weighing 1.7 kilos.
Abroad, this cheese is known for its red wrapper.
Leiden cheese …..Cumin cheese; also referred to as “pitjeskaas” for its
added cumin seed.
Dutch cheese with holes …..Flattened oval cheese with a round top, usually of the
Maaslander or Leerdammer brand. The holes are caused by bacteria in the cheese.
Frisian clove cheese ….Firmly pressed cheese made of skimmed milk with cumin
Herb cheese ……Cheese with non-traditional herbs such as mustard, onion,
parsley, basil, nettle, or pepper.
Goat’s and sheep’s cheese …..Spicy, white cheese of goat’s or sheep’s milk
Smoked cheese …..Often in a sausage-like form with a brown rind. Currently,
smoke flavouring is added to the dairy, but it used to be actually smoked.
A spreadable type of cheese as a result of the adding of
butterfat, which is available in various variations and flavours.
The melted product is heated, after which it has long storage life.
Hard and soft cheese
Most types of cheese in the Netherlands come within the
category of “hard cheese” or “sliceable cheese”. This is
connected to the water content in cheese, and its duration
to mature. Hard cheese, Emmenthal from Switzerland or
Parmesan from Italy, is extremely difficult to slice and
consists of 56% water maximum as a result of the long
maturation. Gouda and Edam are “sliceable cheeses” and
contain about 54 to 63% of water. Soft cheese has matured
a short period of time and is creamy. It consists of more
than 67% water; examples are Camembert and Brie.
Every town has a Market Day, and every Market has at least one cheese booth. The cheese booths always have samples for tasting…it’s a great way to try the different locally made cheese.