How do you recognise a good Gouda farmers cheese? There is Gouda factory cheese and farmer’s cheese. This is how you know the difference.
Gouda Farmer’s Cheese vs Factory Cheese
Some call it Guda, others call it Howda. The Gouda cheese is world-famous. There is a factory version and a handmade version. What are the differences? Factory cheese. It gives me the chills. Dutch farmer’s cheese definitely has my preference. Like with many crafts, the authentic cheese-making is an art. The main difference between a Dutch factory cheese and a farmer’s cheese is the milk used in the cheese making. Due to food safety requirements cheese factories use pasteurised milk. The cheese farmer makes the farmhouse cheese from very, very fresh milk. Early morning the dairy farmer collects the milk from the cow and immediately uses it for cheese making. A real – Gouda- farmer’s cheese is made from raw, non- pasteurised milk. Some cheese farmers choose to heat the milk slightly to make sure their cheeses maintain the unique characteristics of the farm, but also have a more uniform taste.
Pure Taste of Gouda Farmers Cheese
Every Gouda farmers cheese has an unique taste. Multiple aspects influence the taste of the typical Dutch hard cheese. The milk obtains its taste from the grass the cows eat, the area they live in. Gouda cheese is not made in Gouda city, but in the surroundings. Besides the grass of the pastures, the cows eat different herbs. The slightest climate difference in the Dutch countryside effects the taste of the cheese. Other than the milk, every cheese maker has a different recipe. After the cheese making the cheese farmer let’s the cheese ripen. Where the cheese ripening takes place and for how long also makes a difference to the taste of the delicious Dutch cheese.
Did you know you can also see the difference between a Gouda farmers cheese and a factory cheese from the stamp? The stamp on a Gouda factory cheese is round, whereas the stamp on a Gouda farmer’s cheese has the shape of a barrel. The stamp of a farmer’s cheese tells you if the cheese is made from raw milk or warmed ( thermerised) milk.
Soon on Verita’s Visit Holland: Cheese cities in the Green Heart of Holland
In the surroundings of Gouda, in the midst of the Dutch countryside, a cheese maker rises early in the morning. She makes her Holland farmer’s cheese, the authentic Gouda, from fresh milk. She pours the milk in a cheese vat, adds some special ingredients and the magic begins…
Start at the Gouda cheese market and go in any direction for about 25 km (15 miles). This is the region where the Gouda cheese is produced. Today we’re cycling to a Gouda cheese farm in the village of Bodegraven for a proper tour. We begin at the cheese market of another Rhine village. Read more
Summer in Holland is fantastic. Long, colourful days with nice temperatures and a good amount of sunshine ( most of the time at least). Whether you like music, food or flowers, t here’s always something to do. Most of the time you can even combine all of your interests, passions and hobbies by going to one place or even one festival. In the post Summer Festival Hopping you could already read about my favourite festivals in the province South Holland. Now, to make sure you won’t miss out on some typical Dutch activities during your Holland holiday I wanted to highlight some August events in the Netherlands that Verita’s Visit organises themed food & flowers.
They all come to Gouda, city of cheese. Cheese fans from all over the world look forward to the new season of the Gouda cheese market, which opens on Thursday 6 April 2017. Whether you like Old Amsterdammer, Beemster cheese or Edammer Cheese, Gouda is the place to taste the different types of delicious round gold. Gouda cheese market is only on Thursdays though. So, what kind of cheese related things can you do when you visit Gouda on another day? And, is there anything else worth seeing & tasting? Let’s find out.
It’s Saturday. In a Gouda cheese farm, a 5 km bike ride from Gouda, city of cheese, the women are making cheese. We arrive to early, the cheese is still curd and spinning in a big tub. So, I suggest to hit the road and visit the cheese warehouse first. Enroute we are thrilled with the sight of the typical Dutch landscape, we are amazed by the flat organised structure of the polders. Seeing the first windmill makes us clap our hands in excitement. It can only get better. And it does. When we reach the cheese warehouse, our jaws drop.
Gouda Cheese Museum & Cheese Shop
We do visit the Gouda cheese farm again, see the cheese go in the presses. Then we head back to Gouda city of cheese, because we have a full program. The Gouda cheese museum is first on our list. A volunteer of the museum guides us through the history of cheese and other dairy products. We are almost done with the cheese part of our visit to Gouda. We have tasted quite some Gouda farmer cheeses at the Gouda cheese warehouse and the cheese farm, but at ‘t Kaaswinkeltje we not only see the golden version, but also many other colours. One last time we taste different types of cheese, one last time we buy another Gouda cheese, this time a cheese with cumin.
Gouda city of cheese soup & syrup waffle dessert
After a lunch of Gouda cheese soup on the terrace of Belvedère, with view on the very attractive Saturday market, we pass by a couple of the stroopwafel shops to taste and buy the different syrup waffles – and yes, there is also great difference in the syrup waffles you get in Gouda-.
Gouda stained glasses & pollard willows
We’ve kept the best for last. On our way to the Gouda cheese farm & warehouse, we saw these special type of pruned trees along the canals. Apparently you don’t see them ( that much) in America. In the Netherlands we are used to them and they are centuries old. In the St John church of Gouda, famous of the large stained glasses, there is a pane that also depicts these pollard willows. The upper part of this stained glass depicts a scene in the life of John the Baptist. Although it doesn’t take place in the Netherlands, these pollard willows at the riverside give a Dutch touch to this Middle Eastern scene.
To be able to point the others to this specific stained glass in the St John church ánd to be able to show them Gouda city of cheese and so much more, made me immensely happy. And, not just me…
There he was, with rosy cheeks and a sparkle in his eyes, talking energetically to his conversation partner. I stepped up to him to introduce myself and in no time Jos van Riet had taken my hand to show me the fine details of handjeklap, the traditional negotiation between cheese farmer and cheese trader.
Natural Beauty and Local Farmers
In between Utrecht and Gouda, surrounded by idyllic Dutch landscapes there is a gem of a city called Woerden. Although it is a precious small city, perfect for a daytrip from Amsterdam or Utrecht, not many people know about it. Woerden came up with a fantastic plan to put the city on the map. As the capital of the Green Heart, a large green nature area between the bigger cities in Holland, the focus was set on the natural beauty of the area and the authentic local flavour in the city centre itself. This local flavour does make Woerden quite a warm and joyful place and to extend that feeling a farmers and cheese market is created where you get so close to the Dutch cheese farmers and traders you can actually shake hands with them, or in my case, do some handjeklap.
Woerden had one more idea to put the city on the map and that was the introduction of the Cheese King. Every year a highly estimated and highly qualified person in the local cheese business is chosen to be Cheese King of Woerden. I think this is a fabulous idea, because it makes the whole Dutch cheese business so much more personal.
Cheese King Netherlands
Jos van Riet was crowned Cheese King Woerden shortly before the Graskaasdag beginning of June. His main task as cheese king is to tell as many people as possible, visitors, bloggers, tour operators, all there is to know about Woerden and the Dutch cheese process: from cheese making to cheese selling. Now, if you get a chance to meet this man and talk to him, please do. He’s not the type of person just telling mere facts. He will introduce everyone he knows, and he knows every person in Woerden. He is a storyteller, as soon as he starts talking you enter his world of Woerden.
Together with Jos I visited the Woerden farmer & cheese market on Saturday morning. He’s a man of words and actions, introducing the cheese farmers, the cheese traders and stepping right into the scene to comment and explain everything in detail. We headed for a tour in a Dutch cheese farm where Jos enthusiastically showed every step in the cheese making process. After a few hours with him you know all the anecdotes, gossips of the city, have experienced all the mayor events in Woerden’s history and can tell a thing or two yourself about Gouda cheese, farmers cheese, handjeklap, cheese making.