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How Do I Choose the Best Gouda?

Wedge of Gouda cheese.
Wheel of Gouda.
Some gouda cheese are made with cow's milk.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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When choosing the best Gouda cheese, it's important to remember that people have different preferences among the varieties. Trying several types of this cheese should help you find the ones you'll enjoy most. Different ages of this cheese tend to suit specific foods and beverages more than others, so picking the best one will also depend on what you'll be serving with it. In general though, the more aged Gouda is, the better it's considered to be.

You'll be more likely to pay the most for the longest aged cheese. The aging process creates a richer flavor, but the product must be stored longer by cheese companies. The amount of time that the best Gouda should be aged is debatable. Some people assert that the cheese should be aged for a year and a half minimum, while others deem that six months is enough time to produce quality Gouda.

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Longer aged Gouda cheese is best for cooking, such as to add to rice and top casseroles or cooked vegetables, because the texture the aging process creates also provides more taste as well as a smoothness in the mouth. Shorter aged Goudas are usually considered an excellent choice to serve alongside beer. Goudas made with less aging time are also suitable for cracker snacks or in lunch sandwiches. For grainy or heavy breads, however, aged Gouda is best, as it will lend a richer flavor to better complement heartier fare. If you'll be serving cheese and wine, a longer aged type is also the best choice.

You may have to try an assortment of Goudas before finding your favorites. You may want to look for the cheese in a delicatessen or other shop that will let you taste small samples of different varieties. Not all manufacturers of Goudas use a wax wrap, although red wax-wrapped Gouda cheese is classic. Goudas range from pale gold to rich brownish-yellow; some types are even slightly pink or peach in tone. Many Goudas are sold in rounds, or wheels, as well as in smaller packages.

Gouda cheese may be made from cow's, sheep's or goat's milk. Cow's milk Goudas are popular and typically less expensive than the other types. If you purchase Goudas from smaller manufacturers, you're likely to pay more for any variety. For cow's milk varieties, look for a light, even color. Once you try a few different Goudas, you're likely to discover your favorites for snacks, lunches, cooking and entertaining.

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Discuss this Article

sunnySkys
Post 6

I think it's essential to buy cheese from a shop that will let you sample. Even if someone does a really good job describing the flavor of a cheese to you, there's really no substitute for actually tasting it. Besides, who wants to go home with an entire block of cheese you end up not liking? Sampling definitely solves that problem!

I realize some people might not have access to a cheese shop or a fancy supermarket, so I guess in that case you have to make do. But for everyone else, sample, sample, sample!

SZapper
Post 5

@indemnifyme - I can definitely understand grocery shopping on a budget. I used to have a local grocery store that had a whole section of fancy cheeses. They would set out samples, and I would always try them and then want to buy the cheese. But then the cheese would usually turn out to be too expensive.

Now I have a little more spending money, so I can afford to indulge myself once in awhile. I've tried several different kinds of a gouda, and I actually like the less aged gouda. As the article said, the flavor isn't as strong. I find the flavor of aged gouda to be just a little bit too much.

indemnifyme
Post 4

I like gouda, but I only buy it occasionally. I have to admit that I usually pay more attention to the gouda price than how long it's been aged. I don't have an unlimited grocery budge, so I can't really afford to go wild buying fancy cheese.

So I suppose I usually buy the kind that hasn't been aged as long. I like it just fine. It's funny though, because usually I eat my gouda the way this articles recommends you should eat the gouda that hasn't been aged as long. I often use it for cheese and crackers or a sandwich.

myharley
Post 3

@golf07 - From my experience, most cheeses freeze well. Sometimes the texture is not quite the same, but I have found that it doesn't affect the taste. If you are going to be using it in cooking, you should be just fine.

I have never frozen Gouda cheese though, but have had good luck freezing other kinds of cheese. When I buy Gouda cheese it doesn't last very long around my house, so I never have to worry about it going bad.

My husband is kind of a cheese connoisseur and is particular about the cheese he buys. He is much more into how long it has aged than I am. He can usually tell from the first bite if the Gouda cheese has been aged for 6 months or longer than a year.

I just like the taste of it and prefer a stronger taste of one that has aged for awhile. Even though you pay more for an aged cheese, I think the small increase in price is worth the taste.

LisaLou
Post 2

@golf07 - Your best bet would probably be as you mentioned - looking in the specialized cheese section of a larger store.

I will usually find the Gouda cheese in an area that is separate from the shredded and block cheeses. I usually buy mine in a round/wheel shape that is wrapped in a red wax wrap.

The only kind of Gouda cheese I have tasted is made from cow's milk. I would be curious to know if there is much difference in the taste between those made from sheep or goat's milk.

For me, I also like Gouda cheese that has not been aged a long time. We like to eat it on crackers, and more as a snack than using it cooking.

golf07
Post 1

Where is the best place to buy Gouda cheese? I live in a small town and don't have a big selection when it comes to varieties of cheeses.

I have to drive about 60 miles to get to a large grocery store. I know some of the larger stores have a special cheese section where they would probably sell like something this.

I am not familiar with very many kinds of cheese, but would like to try something different. Other than the common cheddar and Swiss, I don't know how to shop for cheese.

How long would Gouda cheese stay fresh in the refrigerator or freezer? Since I don't go to a large store very often I would like to buy some cheese that would stay good for quite awhile.

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