History of Gouda Cheese - Health Benefits and Facts
Gouda Cheese is today regarded as one of the best cheeses in the world, and everyone can easily find it in their neighborhood store no matter where you
live. The defining characteristics of this cheese are its yellow color, great aroma and taste of caramel sweetness that increases for cheeses that have
aged longer. The Dutch cheese makers recognize six gradations of Gouda cheese that are based on cheese maturing age – from 4 weeks for young cheese to very
old cheese that is aged for more than 12 months (some are aged even for 3 years!).
Recorded history of Gouda cheese started in distant 1184, making it the oldest cheese of modern mankind that is still in production using its original
recipe. The name “Gouda cheese” was made because cheese makers from south of Holland gathered regularly in the city of Gouda where they traded their goods
to the rest of Holland (the city itself is also remembered strongly because of its smoking pipes, 13 century elevation from town into City, famous
15th-century city hall and numerous historic churches). Cheese makers gathered in Gouda not only because it was a good trading point that attracted
customers, but also because rulers of the city were granted monopoly trading rights on all cheese sales in the area. This law pushed creation of cheese
making families and cheese guilds, who all tried to distinguish itself on the Gouda market by producing best cheeses they could. The most common cheese
form was a large cake weighted to a bout 160kg, which was sold on the market and delivered to the homes of the purchasers by the cheese-porters. The
cheeses themselves were almost always produced by women, but in the last 100 years most of the Gouda cheese production was moved to the industrial
Today, after more than 800 years on the market, Gouda cheese is still in part produced manually by cheese makers in Netherlands (counted to about 300
farmers that produce traditional “Boerenkaas” recipe from unpasteurized milk, aka Farmers Cheese). These cheeses are also still regularity presented for
sale on the markets of the city Gouda each Thursday morning.
It is important to mention that cheese name “Gouda” is not protected under European or international law, but cheese names such as “Noord-Hollandse Gouda”,
“Gouda Holland”, “Boerenkaas” are registered in the EU as having PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status.