Who doesn’t love cheese? To have a piece of this creamy delight melt in your mouth is one of the most amazing feelings. And the best part about cheese is that it can go with everything.
There are so many different types of cheeses in the world and Dutch Cheese tops them all.
There is just something about the way the Dutch cheeses are made that makes them so special, with every little bit to be savored like nothing else.
Dutch Cheese from Holland
Cheese obsession is very common among people who visit the Netherlands. After all, the variety and deliciousness of the Dutch cheeses from the Netherlands are famous all around the world. And trust me, the Dutch use cheese in everything.
Their obsession with this dreamy and savory ingredient is as intense as the Japanese obsession with technology.
In strong competition with trade masters like USA or Germany, the Dutch Cheese export game is still very strong. The Netherlands is leading the cheese industry on an international level, providing the creamiest and most exquisite cheese to people all around the world.
History of the Dutch Cheese
The Netherlands Cheese is as much a part of the country as its famous tulips and canals and it can be dated back to 400 AD. With centuries’ worth of experience and recipes as old as time, the Dutch have mastered the art of making beautiful cheeses and the whole world knows it.
Earlier, the farmers used to bring the cheese to the city for selling and this went on for hundreds of years, long before Holland became the culturally rich yet modern country of fascination.
Till now, a lot of old markets like the Woerden or Gouda (town) are operating as big commercial cheese markets.
However, a lot of traditional markets were converted into tourist attractions.
Types of Dutch Cheeses
Dutch have the most variety of cheeses in the Netherlands. Here is a small guide to some of the most famous types of cheese from Holland.
Named after a small town in South Holland, Gouda is the king of all the cheeses in the Netherlands. Half of the Cheese manufacturing industry owes its success to this strong yet peculiar flavored cheese.
It is made of 30% butterfat cow milk and left to age for a time period starting from 3 months to 5+ years. The rich taste of the Gouda tastes more amazing with wine or fruits.
It is made in wax-coated wheels that are rich yellow in color. Each wheel weighs around 9 to 24 pounds.
This spherical shaped Dutch cheese is the second most famous after Gouda. It is also a semi-hard form of cow milk cheese, named after another city in the Netherlands from where it originated.
Dressed in yellow or red wax on the outside with a rich yellow inside, Edam is made from 40% butterfat milk. It has a mild and salty flavor that goes great with dark beer.
Also, as the texture of this Dutch cheese hardens over time, it makes a great snack for traveling. The difference between Gouda and Edam is the percentage of the fattiness of the milk used.
Leyden is the most famous type of cheeses containing cumin. Made from partially skimmed milk, the cheese originally comes from Leiden, which explains its name.
It has a lower fat percentage as compared to Gouda and Edam and hence a better option for those looking to lose a little weight. Although, the form is similar to Gouda but has sharper edges.
In an attempt to copy swiss cheese, the Dutch came up with the beautiful and delicious Maasdam. It comes in small wheels weighing around 28 pounds. The nutty and sweet flavor of this Dutch cheese makes it perfect for sandwiches and salads. Maasdam texture is creamy and develops large holes as it ages.
Nagelkaas (Nail Cheese)
The Nagelkaas (Dutch for nail cheese) is also famous by the name Clove Cheese. It originated from the Northeastern part of the Netherlands, where the Friesian people reside. Due to the cloves, there is a spicy touch in the Negalkaas and hence is used in very small quantities.
The fat percentage in the Clove Cheese is 20-44% and skim milk is used in its production. It has an edge on one side and an oval surface on the other and may also contain cumin seeds for extra flavor.
Blauwe Kaas (Blue Dutch Cheese)
The Dutch Blue Cheese is made out of the traditional Gouda. It is manufactured as a tribute to the Delft pottery and is also commercially sold by the name Delfts Blauwe.
Although making a blue cheese is not a traditional Dutch style, but the cheese comes out as a very mild, sweeter less salty flavor that fascinates the taste buds.
It tastes even better when paired with fruits. Made of goat or cow milk, it has a very velvety texture.
Geitenkaas (Dutch Goat Cheese)
As the name suggests, made of goat milk, Geitenkaas has a Gouda-like form that is semi-hard. Although made in a comparatively shorter time, it does not taste any less than other types of Dutch cheese.
The goat cheese literally melts on your tongue and it’s no wonder that it received the award for the Best Cheese in the World at the annual Nantwich International Cheese Show in Britain.
Boerenkaas (Farm House Cheese)
Farm fresh milk is a must in the production of Boerenkaas and at least half of the milk used should come from the same farm. There are not a lot of soft cheeses in the Netherlands and Farm House cheese is one exception.
This cheese has a soft gooey texture with a very different smell. It was originated in the Utrecht province and comes in an orange rind that goes well with a flour-free bread called vijgenbrood.
The recipe to this mild-flavored and creamy cheese was reinvented when the Edam cheese flopped one low temperature and humid day. This cheese also has a higher percentage of fatty milk.
This 200-year-old cheese recipe got lost in history after world war II but luckily some producers have started making it again and people couldn’t be happier about it.
Scapenkaas (Sheep Milk Cheese)
As per the name, sheep cheese comes from the island of Texel that is known for its famous Dutch sheep. This caramel-toned, mild-flavored cheese is made of raw sheep milk and the receipt goes back to over 400 years.
Due to the salty sea breeze that blows over the meadows where the sheep graze, the scapenkaas has a distinctive salty flavor that is very unique.
Rookkaas (Smoked Dutch Cheese)
This uniquely styles Dutch cheese is first melted, smoked and then put into the shape of a sausage. The unique brown rind and smokey flavor makes is one of the most memorable cheeses that you will taste.
Although there are other types of smoked Netherlands cheese, this one stands out due to its shape.
Dutch Cheese City
There are two cities in the Netherlands that have the title Cheese City, and that is due to their attachment with the most famous types of cheese in the world.
Not many people know that the world famous Gouda that we all love and savor, was named after a Dutch town where it was first made. There is a grand cheese market in Gouda that marks the importance of the city and its association with the cheese industry for more than 3 centuries.
Edam is another town famous for its association with cheese, as it has a type of cheese named after it as well. This cheese is the second famous of all the Dutch cheeses and its no wonder that the town is proud of its invention. The making and selling of cheese in Edam go back to the 16th century and there is still a grand market in the down depicting the history.
Dutch Cheese Markets
The Netherlands is obsessed with its cheese and there is no doubt about it. Along with so many great markets solely for cheese, there are museums dedicated to cheese as well.
The oldest, grandest and the most famous of all cheese markets are in the towns Edam, Gouda, Alkmaar, Hoorn, and Woerden. These markets are centuries old and are still going strong. Different opening timings of these markets are mentioned below.
Edam: July and August – Wednesday mornings – 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Gouda: Mid-June to August – Thursday mornings – 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Woerden: Every Wednesday – starting 9:00 am
Alkmaar: April to September – Friday mornings – 10:00 am to 13:00 pm
Hoorn: 28th June to 20th September – Thursdays – 12:30 to 13:45 and 21:00 to 22:15
The Cheese Museum – Alkmaar
The Cheese Museum in Alkmaar city is enough proof that the Netherlands has a very rich history when it comes to cheese.
This museum is one of a kind with an interior that is as fascinating as the things it has to tell us.
The cheese history of the Netherlands, facts and interesting tidbits, it has everything that you need to know to fall in love with cheese all over again,
It is located at the Waagplein in Alkmaar and it opens 6 days of the week. The museum is closed on Sundays.
Rest of the week, it opens from 10 am to 4 pm.