Though preferences vary among the two C+C families, we know there’s one kind of cheese that will please everyone, from curd-averse husbands and picky kids to not-so-picky moms. Yes, gouda is always a safe bet, whether it’s smoked or flavored, young or aged, made with cow’s milk or goat’s. We’ve been lucky to enjoy two such fine specimens recently, including a recent award winner from Wisconsin.
I sauntered into Surdyk’s a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but notice the hefty wheel of Marieke Gouda Mature resting on the counter. “Oh yeah,” the cheesemonger said nonchalantly, “this is from the same batch that just won the top prize at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.” That was enough to get me to buy a wedge, and it wasn’t long before it was gone. This particular wheel had been aged for about 6-9 months, which gave it the nutty, caramelly flavors of an older gouda combined with the smooth texture and firm (but not too firm) bite of a younger cheese. It’s spectacular with crunchy apples or pears for a snack, but its rich creaminess could boost the appeal of any cheese-based dish. A mac and cheese made with Marieke Gouda Mature would be fine indeed.
When my cheese drawer sadly became gouda-less, I found a more-than-worthy wedge to fill it at the Cheese Shop at France 44. Benjamin handed me a taste of Nylander Gouda, a Dutch raw-milk variety, and told me I would be blow away by the flavor. As usual, he was right – the cheese practically comes alive on the tongue. Made from pure Jersey milk from a farm in northern Holland, which Benjamin got to visit on his last trip there (lucky duck), Nylander is bursting with bright grassy notes and sweet, buttery undertones. Though the texture is semi-firm, it has the addictive, candy-like quality of much older, crystal-filled goudas. If there were a high school comprised of goudas, Nylander would be the head cheerleader, full of cheesy spirit and ready to explode with enthusiasm. It’s too special to blend into a dish – enjoy on its own and savor every bite.
Which goudas appear in your cheese drawer the most these days?