Ever feel like buying cheese, but not sure which one to get? Even for a Dutch person it is confusing sometimes! Therefore we decided to clear up the cheese confusions, so have a look at the most popular cheeses in the Netherlands.
Gouda cheese is the most important and famous Dutch cheese. It has a flat-round shape and convex sides, weighs around 12 kilos (26 lbs) and must contain 48% fat. It is a semi-hard cheese, firm in shape and mild in taste. The older the cheese, the firmer it becomes. With age also the taste changes: it becomes increasingly drier and spicier.
Besides the flat-round shape, Gouda cheeses are also square and rectangular. In addition, there is Gouda with cumin, Gouda herb cheese and Boeren (meaning Farmer) Goudse. With farm cheese, the milk is not pasteurized, so that all flavor-giving bacteria are preserved.
Grass cheese is cheese that is made when the cows are back in the meadow at the beginning of the year and eat the fresh grass.
Edammer cheese has a striking spherical or bullet shape (1,70 kg / 4 lbs) and contains 40% fat. Edam is semi-hard, firm in shape and can be eaten at different ages. Here, too, the following applies: the longer the cheese ages, the firmer and spicier it becomes.
In addition to the spherical shape (often colored red abroad), there are also Baby Edammers (up to 1 kg), square Edammers, Edammer in "bread form" and Edammers with cumin. Commission cheese is a so-called double Edam cheese with an orange color. This cheese is mainly sold in France and is called Mimolette there.
The Maasdammer has large holes and a sweet, nutty taste. This cheese also has a flat round shape with a curved top. The holes, typical taste and shape are caused by gas formation of the so-called propionic acid bacteria during maturation. Maasdammer, or Dutch hole cheese, is often sold under the "Leerdammer" brand.
Fresh cheeses are not pressed and barely ripened. Fresh cream cheese is made from milk with cream added to it. It is a soft-sour, spreadable cheese (Mon Chou). Fresh cheeses also include Fêta, cottage cheese (Hüttenkäse) and fresh goat and sheep cheese (usually from the farm).
Spreadable and smoked cheeses
Spreadable and smoked cheeses are so-called melting cheeses, whether or not made with the addition of other milk constituents (such as butterfat). This molten product is heated and has a long shelf life.
Less fat, less salt
For cheeses with a lower fat content (20-30%) and/or a lower salt content (for example Milner, Slankie) other acid types are used to retain the taste. There is also Goudse with less salt (including Maaslander). For people who pay attention to their weight, there are also cheeses with almost no salt (low in sodium).
The cheese made from goat's or sheep's milk is slightly whiter in color and has a spicy aftertaste. Most Dutch goat and sheep cheese is of the Gouda type: a flat-round, semi-hard cheese with a fat content of 48 percent. You can also buy fresh goat cheese, which is soft cheese that has matured briefly.