This cheese takes its name from the small port of Gouda, where there is a magnificent building from the Middle-Ages where cheeses were weighed before being transported by ship.
Like most cheeses from the Netherlands, Gouda has 3 distinct qualities; tender when matured for 2 months, semi-dry after 6 months and dry after 1 year or more. Today, the maturing process is a lot quicker, since the use of heated air ovens which dehydrate the pate.
Gouda is shaped into a small wheel, with a convex sides, with a diameter of 26 to 30cm, a thickness if 7.5cmand a weight of 3 to 5cm.
It can be matured between 3 and 18 months.
Exterior appearance of Gouda cheese: smooth, glossy, even rind
Interior appearance of Gouda cheese: compact pate, without holes
Texture of Gouda cheese: tender to hard, depending on age
Taste of Gouda cheese: from nutty to piquant depending on age.
There are also versions flavoured with cumin and spices.