Introducing Noord Holand, bearing little resemblance to a garden variety Gouda.
It is worth a closer look.
Cheese Name: Noord Holand
Milk Type: Cow’s milk from herds of Holstein Friesians raised in the North of Holland
Style: Aged Farmstead Gouda
Description: Typical of the style, this four-year-old Gouda is very brittle in texture. The distinctive crunchy crystals formed from ageing are visible throughout the cheese. The paste is a vibrant amber colour, getting darker close to the rind. These twelve-kilo wheels are larger than typical Gouda made for export, and are waxed for ageing. After four years the wheels are extremely hard, and quite a challenge for even the strongest cheesemongers in the land to cut!
Tasting Notes: The ageing is the key to what makes this Gouda special. As the wheels age, they take on an amazingly sweet, rich taste. The paste is so dense and the finish so much like salty caramel, making it the perfect cheese candy for grown-ups.
There are other makers of two-to-four years old Gouda that are also notable, including Rembrandt, Beemster, and Old Amsterdam. Different house styles and different maturing time will vary the finished product, but that captivating butterscotch finish will be evident in all of them.
Pairing: I would typically pair this with a slightly salty accompaniment. Contrast is the key here so that you don’t distract from the cheese’s fudgy goodness. A few toasted walnuts or subtle savoury mustard would be a good pick.