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I'm particularly interested in how aged Gouda will melt compared to young Gouda, but I'm interested in what happens to its flavor as well.

I live in the US and have never actually tasted aged Gouda. The Gouda I know is young, soft, very smooth, and melts beautifully. It's almost like American "cheese" that way, but unlike American cheese, it actually has some flavor. I'm interested in a more intensely flavored cheese that is still very meltable.

As a bit of comparison, I use cheddar quite a bit. Young cheddar melts beautifully (in macaroni and cheese, for example) but it doesn't have intense flavor. I much prefer the taste of sharp (or aged) cheddar, but it doesn't melt smoothly. Using aged cheddar alone in mac and cheese doesn't work well; it's grainy and often separates even in a bechamel. I'll still happily put it on a burger though.

I'm about to buy some Beemster Aged Gouda that has been aged for 18-24 months and I want to use it to its best advantage. I'm interested too in 5 year aged Gouda, but with shipping it's very expensive. I'd happily read any comments about the value of long aged Gouda as well.

  • Beemster has several great Goudas. And while I typically love and lean toward aged cheeses, Beemster Graskaas (which is not aged long) has become one of my faves. @Joe nailed it with his comment about cheese from different times of year. This is why Graskaas is only available for a limited a time each year. Only 2000 wheels are produced and when they're gone you just have to wait until next year! – Cindy Sep 10 '14 at 16:57
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Aged gouda is my favorite cheese!

Beemster Classic Aged is like a firmer, creamy, sweet, slightly sharp, nutty version of regular gouda.

I've never had a 5 year, but 2 year aged gouda (like Beemster xo) is kind of like a creamy parmigiano but not as hard... nutty, caramel/toffee flavors with random crunchy tyrosine bits.

I would expect the 5 year to be comparable in flavor to Parmigiano with more creaminess and a less crumbly texture due to the fact that gouda is made with whole milk while Parmigiano is made with partially skimmed milk.

Truthfully, it rarely lasts long enough for me to use it in anything... it is the perfect cheese to eat by itself or with apple, pear, or almonds. You can basically use them anywhere you would use a sharp cheddar or parmigiano.

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It's been almost 30 years since I lived in the Netherlands, but 5 yr old Gouda wasn't a normal thing ... typically the 'old' gouda was more like a year old. It was firm, but you could still slice it easily, like a sharp cheddar.

Nutty is probably the best way to describe it -- the typical way to eat it would be just on its own, with mustard, fruit, or on a slice of bread (possibly buttered bread, or in a sandwich).

It would likely melt, but you generally used the younger cheeses for that; old gouda was for eating on its own. Burying the flavor by putting it into some other dish wasn't typical.

If you're a real fan of gouda, I have no idea how easy it would be these days, but try to find a winter gouda vs. a summer gouda from the same dairy -- you'd be amazed how much grass vs. hay makes on the milk. (I don't think they tend to export cheese from the week when they're switching over between feed ... that has an almost hallowed status)

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    traditional serving of old/aged Gouda would be on black rye bread. And yes, the really young "grass cheese" isn't generally exported, in part because it just sells the entire production local but also because even the little extra aging during long distance transport changes the taste to where it's no longer the same. – jwenting Jun 19 '14 at 7:40
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The best way to describe the cheese aging process is to look at something we're all familiar with -- Cow's milk Mozzarella. I am about to describe a hypothetical process. The actual cheeses described here all have special processes for each specific end product. But, one could make close approximations this way.

The curds come together and are balled up under the whey. If we leave them under the whey, we have what is essentially a Bocconcini. -- Those little white balls you see in the antipasto display at the grocery.

To make mozzarella, larger balls are gathered, and hung to air dry. A yellow rind forms. These larger balls are the typical mozzarella - lightly flavoured, stringy and milky.

Hang that mozzarella to dry in a cool dark place - a few weeks to a few months. The strings start to meld together, creating a more solid cheese. Liquid evaporates out, Molds make the cheese slighty more nutty in flavour. This is best approximated by a good Provolone.

Keep hanging that original mozzarella, perhaps under some weight, for six to eighteen months and we end up in the Parmesan Reggiano region. The cheese is almost completely dessicated, hard and extremely flavourful, with a really strong nutty flavour.

Now, the same things happen to Gouda. The soft creamy Goudas are akin to the mozzarella. Slightly firmer, and it's like the Provolone. (Although the Dutch don't seem to have the Italian need to completely rename a product after one minor change.) Let it dry out, and we're entering the Beemster territories.

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