Smoked Gouda is a type of semi-hard cheese that originated in Holland. The cheese gets its smoky flavoring from shavings or chips from hickory trees. The cheese is yellow in color and often has small holes in it. It has a dark-colored, smoky rind that can be eaten as well. Due to its creamy texture, smoked Gouda can be used in a variety of recipes, from sauces to quiches to pizza.
Interestingly, smoked Gouda is named after the town where the cheese was originally produced: Gouda, Holland. Although other places now produce and sell the cheese, many people believe that true Gouda should come from Holland. In fact, Holland is still the primary producer of the cheese.
Since Gouda is low in lactic acid, it is considered a sweeter type of cheese. It is also has more milk fat than many other types of cheese, making it seem creamier in comparison. Depending on the producer, 1 ounce (about 28.3 g) of smoked Gouda can range anywhere between 70 and 110 calories.
As a mild tasting, semi-hard cheese, smoked Gouda can be eaten with or without crackers, making it a good choice for an easy appetizer or lunch. It is thought to compliment beer, white wine, or mild red wine. Some people even believe it goes well with alcohols that are high in natural sugars, such as bourbon.
Due to its strong smoky flavor and creamy texture, smoked Gouda is a common ingredient in many types of recipes. For example, it can be used in cheese-based sauces, such as alfredo sauce. The smoky flavoring often accompanies pasta dishes that contain bacon, ham, or other smoked meats.
Beyond sauces, smoked Gouda can be used in wide variety of other recipes. It is quite popular, for instance, in quiches packed with eggs, a variety of vegetables, and even ham. It is also used to stuff meats, such as chicken or pork. Many people enjoy their pizza topped with thin slices of the cheese as well. It has also been used to make hearty dishes, such as macaroni and cheese.
For people with dairy allergies or for those who follow a vegan diet, there are products that mimic smoked Gouda. These versions of dairy-free cheese are made from a mixture of ground nuts, ground sesame seeds, and ground chickpeas, along with several spices. Often, the smoky flavor comes from hickory flavoring rather than the smoke from hickory shavings or chips. These pseudo-cheeses are typically lower in fat, calories, and sodium.