Gouda, or "How-da" as the locals say, is a Dutch cheese named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. If truth be told, it is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of the world's cheese consumption. There are several types of Gouda, classified by age. From all of these, hard-core Gouda fans prefer to taste the aged Gouda, as they feel it takes years of maturing to bring out the complex flavours of the cheese.
Aged Gouda is prepared similar to other Gouda cheeses by separating curds and whey through a heating process. It is shaped into a wheel that can be effectively sliced into wedged for consumption. As with all other cheeses, aged Gouda gets its colour by adding colouring agent called annatto. With aging, Gouda develops calcium lactate crystals formed by the lactic acid in the cheese. It proffers an enjoyable crunch that is unique to waxed cheeses. However, the rind of a five-year aged Gouda is unfit for human consumption.
The longer a cheese is kept in maturation cellars, the more aromatic and full-flavoured it becomes. Similarly, Aged Gouda such as a five-year aged cheese develops such strong flavour that cheese aficionados prefer to eat it alone. Accompaniments seem pale in comparison to its caramel and robust flavour.
Gouda cheese as a hard cheese goes well with beer and red wines. The taste of Vintage or Aged Gouda gets a new definition when it is paired with some white wines and any fruity wine.