When you think of Holland, iconic images such as windmills and tulips are sure to come to mind. But if you're a foodie, the first thing you would think of is Dutch cheese!
Here is a list of Dutch style cow's milk cheeses (along with some wine pairing suggestions to enhance the cheese flavours) made right here in BC. BC has many local artisan cheesemakers that produce Dutch style cheeses that you can buy direct or find at your nearest grocery store. Enjoy!
Amsterdammer, named after the city in Holland, Amsterdam, is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese. A firm, ripened cheese that has a sweet and buttery taste, its nutty overtones give way to a tangy finish. This cheese pairs well with ale beers. Made in BC by Natural Pastures Cheese Company.
Boerenkaas is literally Dutch for “farmer’s cheese” and is considered a firm cheese. Made directly from the milk of where it’s farmed, Boerenkass is a special type of Gouda cheese made with raw cow’s milk. Its flavours are described as sweet nutty and bold with a tangy finish. Perfect for soups, salads, omelettes and pizzas. Pairs nicely with a tawny port or apple brandy. Made in BC by Natural Pastures Cheese Company.
Edam, also named after a town in North Holland, is a semi-soft cheese traditionally wrapped in red wax. A younger Edam is smooth, sweet, and has a nutty flavour. As it ages, the taste intensifies and its texture hardens. Easily sliced and melted, this cheese is a good choice for sandwiches, fondues, soups and sauces. Pairs deliciously with Syrah or Riesling. Made in BC by The Village Cheese Company.
Gouda is named after the southwestern city of Gouda in the Netherlands. This semi-firm cheese has a creamy, buttery texture made from pasteurised cow’s milk (note some cheese artisans may choose to use raw cow’s milk). Ranging from mild to aged to extra aged, Gouda’s various flavours and textures differ (as it ages the cheese flavour intensifies and textures harden) as some are blended with flavours such as garlic, cumin, or smoked; to name a few. Young Gouda may be paired with beer while medium Goudas taste great with a fruity white such as Riesling or Pinot Gris. Aged Goudas flavours are already intense but is further deepened with a Merlot or Shiraz. Made in BC by Golden Ears Cheese Crafters, The Village Cheese Company, Grass Root Dairies, and Triple Island Farms.
Maasdammer, or Maasdam in English, is a raw milk cheese also known as a Dutch Swiss style cheese. Its flavour is described as mild, sweet, buttery, and nutty with a fruity finish. A melting cheese, use Maasdammer in casseroles, soups, or fondues. It’s also perfect for sandwiches or paired with White Zinfandel, Lager, Pale Ale, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chianti. Made in BC by Grass Root Dairies.
What’s the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized milk cheeses?
Raw milk comes straight from the animal without any treatment. Pasteurised milk receives a gentle heat treatment aimed solely at eliminating harmful bacteria that can be found in raw milk such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. Canadian law states that raw-milk cheeses must be stored at 2°C or more and aged at least 60 days, which cuts down water necessary for harmful bacteria to grow. It is illegal to sell raw milk, however, raw milk cheeses are permitted as the cheesemaking process has rigorous regulations and control systems to ensure a safe product is produced when using unpasteurized milk.
Note: People who are expecting or have compromised health should not consume raw-milk cheeses.