I’ve been eating a lot of the Gouda cheese we bought from our trip to Amsterdam over Christmas, and I have to admit it is fast becoming one of my favorite cheeses. Gouda is made from cow’s milk and is instantly recognizable because of its shape, which it gets from the mold in which the cheese is set.
Gouda gets its name from the town of Gouda in Amsterdam. The name, unlike some other cheese names, is not patented, so we can get a Wisconsin Gouda. To get the authentic Dutch Gouda, look for the name Noord-Hollandse Gouda.
One interesting thing to note is that one assumes that if it is named after the town of Gouda, it must be made there. In reality, it is called Gouda not because it is made there, rather because since 1540, Gouda had the sole market rights or a monopoly to sell this cheese in their market square.
Even now, every spring and summer, the cheese market is in full swing every Thursday, where the cheese is weighed and traded in exactly the same way today as it has been for hundreds of years. The cheese wheels are delivered on house cart by farmers to the trading market in front of the town hall. The farmers and traders settle on a price by the clapping of hands known as handjeklap – smacking each other’s hands as they negotiate the price.
Hope you enjoyed this little background on the world’s most popular cheese and where it gets its name.