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How Dutch Gouda Is Made At A 100-Year-Old Family Farm | Regional Eats


Claudia Romeo: Every
year, 650 million kilos of Gouda cheese are
produced in the Netherlands. Most of it is produced industrially,
using pasteurized milk. But there are some exceptions. We’re here to visit one of the few farms that is still producing
traditional raw-milk Gouda cheese. Marije Van der Poel: We
make a real farming cheese on this farm. And we are specialized in
old, I mean, in aged cheese, and the taste will really
be special when it’s aged. Claudia: This place is
actually quite remote. We’re, like, immersed in nature, and we’re actually on an island. We had to take a small
boat and cross the canal in order to get here. Do I go back? We’re in the right direction. Maybe. I’m not very coordinated, no? How do you row?
[oars creaking] [laughing] And the woman that is producing the cheese is actually doing it in her own house, which is this one behind me. Depending on whether you’re a native, you will pronounce it
either “Gu-da” or “How-da.” So since we’re talking about
authentic Dutch cheese, we’re going to call it “How-da.” The cheese takes his name from the city of Gouda in South Holland. But unlike with other cheeses that are named after cities, there was never any
cheese-making in Gouda. In the Middle Ages, Gouda acquired sole cheese-market rights, basically becoming the
only city in the country where farmers could trade their cheese. Gouda was associated so much
with the cheese sold there that it was eventually
named after the city. The Gouda Cheese Market
was started in 1395. Today, it is one of the
most popular attractions in the Netherlands. There are only 280
farmers across the country still making raw-milk boerenkaas, or farmer’s cheese. And there are only two
farms that take their cheese to the next level, making
Boeren Goudse Oplegkaas, or aged artisanal Gouda,
a special type of raw-milk farmhouse cheese that must
weigh at least 20 kilograms and can be made only in the summer with cattle grazing in
the Green Heart region, between the cities of Amsterdam,
Rotterdam, and Utrecht. Meet Marije Van der Poel,
who lives on an island in the village of Rijpwetering in South Holland with her husband, Hugo, and their three children and makes 15 wheels of aged
artisanal Gouda every day at the back of their house. Marije: The family Van der
Poel started here in 1932. So my husband’s grandfather,
grandmother, they started here, and we still make cheese on the same way, on the authentic way of cheese-making. And in 1965, his father and mother, they came here, they married, and they came and started
also, and they make cheese. We start living here in 1996. We get married, and my
mother-in-law, she make, she learned me how to make cheese. And now, so I do it now
for 23 years on my own. We have 150 cows, and we
milk them twice a day. Claudia: The cheese is made from cold milk from the previous day and warm milk that’s fresh. Marije: Every morning,
I wake up at 10 to 6, and my husband wake up at 4:15. He calls the cows out of
the land, and they come, and then at 5 o’clock
he start milking them, and in the evening before,
he also milk the cows. And then when I wake up at 10 to 6, first thing I do, I make the milk sour. And then at 7 o’clock, I have about 3,000, a bit more, milk liters. And then I put some rennet to it. And when you put some rennet to it, the milk will get thick in 30 minutes. It’s real special every morning. So when I…leave the
milk rest for 30 minutes. After that short time, you
can cut it really slowly. And when you cut it, the
fresh cheese will go down. And the whey woke up. We bring the whey away, we
spread it all over our lands, and the real fresh cheese
we keep stirring, stirring, and slowly we bring it back
to temperature of the cows, up to 37 degrees. Not higher, because we
make raw-milk cheese. Claudia: The process of adding warm water to the cheese, called “washing the curd,” is generally used to
make the cheese sweeter. Washing the curd removes lactose, which bacteria could transform into acid. Blocks of curd are then pressed
together into wooden molds with the help of linen cloths. Marije: We still use the
molds of my husband’s grandfather and grandmother. The wooden molds is real
special to make cheese. There are only a few
cheesemakers in Holland who still use wooden molds. It’s because we think the
wooden molds is the best to make old, aged cheese, because the wooden molds
keep the warm inside. And that’s the best for the taste. So the taste after two
years is really special. You can still make slices
of it after two years, and that’s real special. There are only two farmers in
Holland who make this cheese. So that’s really, really special. Claudia: Each wheel has a unique plaque made from milk protein with information about where and when it was produced. The curds are pressed in the wooden mold for two hours on each side. In the evening, they are moved to brines. Marije: It’s a natural way to
bring salt into the wheels, and water, slowly, only
a few, out of the wheels. And that’s different of the factories, because, in the factories
where they make cheese, they bring salt during the making process. And we do it on an authentic
way, in a salty bath. So really slowly. Claudia: Cheese wheels stay five days in the salty baths then dry for 24 hours. The Van der Poel family
keeps them for a week in their farm, where they are covered by a biological coating. Marije: We put a coating on
it three times, every side, because it’s easier to keep them clean. And then every week,
a trader is collecting about 90 wheels up here, and he keep them in big trader houses,
warehouses I think, warehouses, for a long time, and he age them. Because we are good in making cheese, and he’s good in aging cheese. Claudia: Gouda has to
age for least 28 days. This specialty, the aged artisanal Gouda, ages for least two years, but
some wheels can age longer. Marije: And there are no
farmers who take the risks to keep the cheese as long
as we do in warehouses. So it’s really special. This is a perfect. It looks perfect. Only a few small holes. So the cheese looks at you like eyes, only a few, and you see the crystals. All the people think
they are salty crystals, but it’s protein crystals. Claudia: Marije cut us a
slice of a 3-year-old cheese, and as you can see from the texture, it’s actually quite soft, and it’s something that I wasn’t expecting coming from a cheese that has
been aged for three years. Like, three years is a such a long time, and I would expect it to be, like, harder. But here it is, let’s give it a try. It’s got, like, real,
real-milk, milky cheesy taste. Like, no salt at all. And it’s sort of, like,
nutty, caramellike. Like, it reminds me a bit
of Parmesan, in a way. But in the sense that, like, it kind of touches the same taste buds. But texture-wise, it’s
completely different. Like, this one is softer, and
it melts more in your mouth. It’s buttery. Authentic Dutch Gouda is protected by the EU’s Protected
Geographical Indication under the name “Gouda Holland.” This certifies that the
cheese comes from Holland and has been made
traditionally with Dutch milk. Real life is a real gym. [Producers laughing]
[Claudia sighs] Producer: Row, Claudia!
Producer: Can I have a beer? Claudia: Huh? Producer: [laughing] Do you have a TV? [Claudia sighs]

100 Comments

  1. Ties Versteeg Author

    I like how people pronounce Dutch words. In this film, they don’t pronounce Gouda well. Even the explanation how to prounounce it is wrong and all the other words🤣

    Reply
  2. A G Author

    I admire and applaud these people that keep those age-old traditions alive. She seems like such a sweet person too! I would LOVE to try their aged gouda!

    Reply
  3. CoreZeroPH Author

    Good recommendation. Actually quite curious how they taste now. Hopefully the art of this kind of cheesmaking will be continued and preserved for more generations to come.

    Reply

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