If I can promise you anything - Let it be this: I will not make you scroll through four pages talking about my life history with food and multiple pointless pop up advertisements before I get to the point. So let's gouda straight to it (I'm also required to provide at least one cheese pun per post).
A few fun facts ~
- Pronounced "GOO-DAH", this cheese originates from Holland and was traditionally made with 100% dutch cows milk.
- Today, Gouda simply refers to a style of cheesemaking. For OG style Gouda search for - "Noord Hollandse".
- There are seven different styles of Gouda based on their age.
For the sake of not overloading your brain with information that's impossible to take in without tasting every style of gouda at least 10 times, we are going to focus on just three different slices. As promised, my tasting note summaries are going to be attached to the photo if you don't feel like reading today and you trust my little buds enough.
Let's start with this youngen; Parrano's original. Aged for just five months, this slice slides on the mild side with slightly creamy and sweet notes. With a deliciously addictive crunch from the tyrosine crystals, my initial pairing buds went straight for a juicy apple and some tart raspberries to both compliment and contrast this sensation. Whilst a simple milk chocolate would have sufficed, the faint toastiness of the slice sent me reaching for some chocolate coffered espresso beans accompanied by some roasted almonds to fully exploit the younger caramel tones and developing warmth of the cheese. Finally, I came across this incredible chutney and knew it was meant to be. With a younger slice like this - there is a lot more flexibility with your choice of spread, so have some fun and go for something bold.
Moving down the ageing timelines, let's dive into the Beemster XO 26 month aged gouda. You can almost taste the different in the cheese simply by looking at it's magnificent golden colour. As the slice ages and hardens, it adapts a delicious nutty and toasty taste, making this spicy little honey the perfect drizzle to make it all melt in your mouth. The juiciness of the grapes cut through the saltiness of the cheese, whilst the dried figs and milk chocolate fully expose the caramel and butterscotch notes. For the final bite, I relied on the oiliness of some olives to create a flavourful contrast with the toasty pecan aspects that developed in this hard cheese over time.
Aside from the ageing goodies, we enter the world of specialty goudas where there are truly no laws. Goat Gouda? why not. Throw in some pumpkin seeds? You can find that too. Garlic, herb, pepper, smoked and the works. And whilst these all sounds amazing, my heart lies with the truffles - Parrano's truffle gouda is the perfect balance of creamy and salty. The sweet citrus elements of blood orange and dried apricots are perfect for bringing out the pungent oils of the shaved black Italian truffle. The slight saltiness of the basic pistachio is a simple pairing against the daring bite of sea salt caramel. Lastly, this wildflower honey is just what this slice needs to both take advantage of the earthiness of the truffles and contrast the nuttiness of the gouda.
U N C O R K E D
What's a cheese without it's wine? I'd probably call it naked if that was acceptable (Is that acceptable?). To be completely honest with you, I don't really have any in depth explanations as to why I landed on these wines with these cheeses - just know that I had a really good time figuring it out.
- Sparkling wine + Young gouda; The bubbliness and slight acidity of the sparkling wine compliment the creaminess and bring out the sweetness of the young gouda.
- Rosé + Truffle gouda; The simple crisp tones of a rosé allow the oils of the truffle to be highlighted and creates a refreshing and earthy sensation.
- Cabernet Sauvignon + Aged gouda; The deep bold berry aspects of the Cab Sauv allow the warmth of the aged slice to be appreciated without being overwhelming.
S L I C E D
Now that you are know what you're putting with your Gouda, let's quickly discuss how to prepare your slice for a charcuterie board. I would recommend these three simple methods:
- The quick chunk. If you can - safely peel the wax rind off the gouda whilst keeping its shape, go to town and rip that baby into cute little chunks and place it back in it's shell. (If you can't safely remove the rind, cut along the inside like so).
- The simple slice. Remove the rind and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Expose the beautiful ridges within the cheese and create perfect single serve slices for your guests.
- The lean. Sit your triangle slice up so that the rind is facing up and peel off the rind. Slice the cheese starting from the back and continue towards the point - for an aged piece go for thicker slices as it will crumble as you slice! Don't panic, simply place each slice leaning against one another to reveal and appreciate the ageing process of the gouda.
K I T C H E N
A young Gouda is perfect for melting, grab the rest of that apple, the delicious plum chutney and your favourite sour dough - add a little butter and I guarantee you won't be mad about it. Gouda is also a great option to add a little boldness to your mac n cheese!
S U M M A R Y
The most important thing I can tell you, is that when it comes to flavour pairing and pairing notes - there is no wrong answer. All I can offer you is recommendations, but at the end of the day you might not taste what I taste, and that's okay! So don't be shy, follow along with me and make your own adjustments as you go. The exploration of cheese and wine is a beautiful journey, and as long as you're having fun... you truly can't go wrong.
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