A favorite of cheese lovers everywhere, gouda is one of the most popular cheeses worldwide. It’s used in everything from fondue to soup to macaroni and cheese.
Overall, gouda tastes mild, nutty, and somewhat sweet. However, the flavor of the gouda is fairly heavily dependent on its age. Longer-aged goudas tend to have a much more intense, deeper flavor.
Generally, younger cheeses tend to be somewhat milder, and older cheeses are more flavorful. The type of gouda also plays a part in its tastes and textures.
Typically, there are six classifications for the age of gouda. They range from four weeks to over twelve months. Each step along the way means a slightly different taste for the cheese.
Often, the newer cheese has a mild sweetness that is somewhat fudgelike.
The texture is soft and more creamy.
As gouda ages, it takes on a more buttery and nutty flavor. The older cheese can take on a caramel, butterscotch flavor as well. In addition, sometimes you can get a bit of a tangy flavor from older-aged gouda.
Getting older causes the texture of gouda to become harder, sometimes developing a bit of a crunch. The cheese dries out a bit and can cause it to firm up and flake.
Types of Gouda
While there are many different types of gouda, we’ll just look at some of the more popular ones. Let’s see how they differ in taste and texture.
This type of gouda is more about the texture than the taste. This is made only once a year when the cows have their first graze after winter.
The flavor of this gouda is fairly mild but tastes fresh. However, it’s the creamiest, smoothest gouda that can typically be found.
This is typically gouda that has been aged four to six months.
Generally at this stage, the gouda is still fairly mellow and mild but is beginning to develop a nutty flavor.
It has a wonderful, creamy texture that is perfect to eat alone.
Overjarig is a gouda that has been aged for at least 24 months. Aging the cheese this long gives it sweet caramel, butterscotch flavors. It’s also fairly salty by this point.
The texture becomes much less creamy and begins to take on a bit of a crumble as it loses moisture. It has a bit of a chew and is somewhat crunchy with the formation of cheese crystals.
How to Eat Gouda
Gouda is a versatile cheese and good in many dishes. Due to taste variations from age, different types of gouda are better in certain dishes.
The cheese board is a popular way to eat gouda.
Unlike some other rinds, the rind on gouda is not for consumption. Make sure to trim it off before you cut up your cheese.
In Mac and Cheese
A common cheese to add to mac and cheese, gouda gives this meal a nice nutty, buttery flavor. Similar to other strong-flavored cheeses, such as gruyere, gouda adds an extra level of flavor to this basic dish.
In addition, using a young-aged gouda will help you get an extra creamy finish on your mac and cheese.
In a Grilled Cheese
While we often think of using cheddar in grilled cheese sandwiches, gouda is highly underrated in this area.
While the flavor of gouda is excellent in a grilled cheese sandwich, you need to be careful while heating. You want to only slightly warm your gouda, as trying to melt completely will often result in a clumpy texture. To avoid this use a low flame and younger aged gouda.
If you can make this sandwich correctly, you get a wonderful buttery flavor to your grilled cheese sandwich.
Generally, younger gouda is mild with slightly nutty and sweet flavors that have a creamy texture. As the cheese is aged, it gets more caramel-like flavors along with a tanginess. The older cheese also gets harder and more crumbly.
Due to the varying tastes and textures from the time it’s aged, gouda is a great choice and highly versatile.