Holland Heritage Special Reserve
Dutch Gouda Aged 2 Years
My local Lunds Grocery had aged cheddar on sale and I pawed through a whole pile of cheese to find the one with the most white spots. The white spots are either calcium lactate - produced as the cheese ages when lactic acid in the cheese combines with calcium to produce calcium lactate - or tyrosine crystals created when proteins in the cheese break down to form crystals as the cheese ages. Both crystals give the cheese a nice crunch. A wedge of Holland Heritage Special Reserve Dutch Gouda Aged 2 Years had the most white spots.
The Dutch have produced Gouda cheese since 1184 and it is now one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It is named after Gouda, the city where farmers took their cheese to sell it. Cheese makers anywhere can make and name their cheese Gouda but cheese labled Boerenkaas, Noord-Hollandse Gouda or Gouda Holland can only be made in the Netherlands and are registered in the EU as having Protected Geographical Indication Status.
The cheese is hard, firm and light caramel yellow and filled with little white crystals. Young Gouda has a springy texture and is mild and lightly sweet. This is not. It is almost grainy with the highly coveted crunch and is buttery with hints of caramel and nuts and traces of cow and barnyard. There is more cow and barnyard in the aroma than on the tongue. I am having this with Apimed Old slavic mead made from dark forest honey. The mead is medium sweet and blends tree syrup flavors with light honey and these go very nicely with the cheeses caramel and nutty notes. The pairing is excellent. Aged Gouda also pairs nicely with American Brown Ales, British Brown Ales, Scotch Ales, Helles, Doppelbocks, Vienna Lagers, Imperial Stouts and Bocks. The malt flavors in the beers play well with the cheese's caramel and nutty notes while the beers carbonation cleanses the palate. A nice Gueuze plays well with the caramel notes - they soften some of the Gueuze's funk and acidity while the Gueuze brings out some of the cheese's funk.