Everything you didn't know about Gouda cheese: origins, taste and more

By: Henri Willig
19 apr 2024
± 3 minuten

Curious about the story behind the iconic Gouda cheese? Then you've come to the right place. In this article, we delve into everything you didn't know about Gouda cheese: from its origin and flavour to additional information about this cheese variety.

What is Gouda cheese?

Gouda cheese is a popular cheese variety that originated in the Dutch town of Gouda. Gouda cheese is known for its mild and creamy flavour combined with its round shape and yellow colour. This cheese is made from cow's milk and thanks to the ripening process, the specific texture and flavour is developed.

Where does Gouda cheese come from?

The name Gouda cheese suggests that this cheese comes from the city of Gouda. The actual origins of Gouda cheese are a little more complex. Gouda played an important role in the trade and distribution of cheese. Dairy farming in the Gouda area was the main source of livelihood and cheese, including Stolk or Stolwijk cheese, was traded annually at Gouda markets. Despite Gouda changing its name to "Gouda cheese" in the seventeenth century, before then the cheese was known as Stolk cheese, named after the town of Stolwijk, where the cheese was actually made. After a long conflict between Schoonhoven and Gouda, it was determined in 1540 that the cheese market should take place in Gouda. Since then, the cheese has been known as Gouda cheese, although it was not necessarily made in Gouda.

Types of Gouda cheese

Gouda cheese is available in several varieties, from young to old. The maturation period determines the flavour intensity, ranging from mild to spicy. Besides the traditional Gouda cheese, there are also varieties such as cumin cheese and herb cheese that add an extra dimension to the flavour. Think young Gouda cheese, mature Gouda cheese, extra mature Gouda cheese and old Gouda cheese.

Find out more about the different types of Gouda cheese:

  • Young Gouda cheese: This cheese has a mild and creamy flavour. It is the youngest variety and is usually matured for only a few weeks to a few months. Young Gouda cheese is perfect for lovers of a light cheese and is best on bread, crackers or as a snack.
  • Mature Gouda: Mature Gouda cheese has a slightly fuller flavour than young Gouda. It is aged longer, usually between 4 and 6 months, giving it a slightly firmer texture and a more intense flavour. Aged Gouda cheese is ideal for with drinks or as an ingredient in hot dishes such as cheese fondue.
  • Extra mature Gouda cheese: Extra mature Gouda cheese is aged even longer than mature cheese, usually between 7 and 12 months. As a result, it develops an even more intense flavour. The texture becomes somewhat grainy and the flavour more powerful. Extra mature Gouda cheese is perfect for those who love a distinct cheese flavour and is delicious both to eat on its own and to use in recipes.
  • Old Gouda: Old Gouda cheese is the most matured and flavourful variety of all. It is aged for at least 12 months, sometimes even longer, developing a rich and intense flavour with crystallisation and a crumbly texture. Old Gouda cheese is perfect for true cheese lovers who love a powerful and complex flavour experience. It is delicious on a cheeseboard, with a good glass of wine or as a seasoning in savoury dishes.

Whether you prefer a mild cheese or prefer a more pronounced flavour, there is always a variant of Gouda cheese that you like. Explore our cheese recipes to get inspiration on how to incorporate your Gouda cheese into your meals! Indeed, Gouda cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein, contributing to a healthy diet. 

Henri Willig Gouda cheese 

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Frequently asked questions

What makes Gouda cheese different from other cheeses?

Gouda cheese is distinguished by its mild and creamy flavour combined with its distinctive round shape and yellow colour. The ripening process gives the cheese its specific texture and flavour.

Why is Gouda cheese named after the city of Gouda if it is not made there?

Although the name suggests otherwise, Gouda cheese is not necessarily made in Gouda. The name stems from Gouda's historical role as a trading centre for cheese.

What are the main characteristics of the different maturation degrees of Gouda cheese?

Young Gouda has a mild flavour, while cured, extra cured and old Gouda cheeses become increasingly intense in flavour due to a longer maturation period.

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Is this article already making you hungry?

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Homemade creamy Gouda cheese sauce

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You can eat this cheese sauce with everything!  Whether you're having nachos, loaded fries, broccoli or cauliflower, this sauce is an all-rounder. Also delicious to use as a cheese dip. 

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Are you already craving a delicious lunch? Then try this simple recipe for a tuna melt sandwich. With tuna, melted cheese and a touch of paprika salsa, you will have a tasty sandwich on the table in no time. This classic is easy to make and perfect for a quick but filling lunch. Whether you're working from home or want to make something quick, our Henri Willig Cow Organic Young Cheese will make any tuna melt sandwich irresistible.