If any cheese embodies September, it’s aged Gouda. Its color mirrors the hues you see at farmers’ markets this time of year — in butternut squash, Indian corn, Bosc pears, cider.
And no surprise: the roasty sweetness of aged Gouda, pairs well with autumn flavors. I love to serve it straight up with green apples, salted almonds and soft caramel. For a dessert cheese board or as a starter before a harvest supper, this combination looks lovely on a plate. It also makes people bleat. It really does, I have heard them.
L’Amuse Gouda from Holland stands out for its highly crystallized texture – those crispy bits are achieved by aging the cheese at higher temperatures and humidity levels than other Goudas on the market.
Betty Koster, who owns a store called L’Amuse near Amsterdam, is the grand dame of Goudas. Her signature wheels are famous the world over because of her special aging technique. Each wheel takes two years to develop. (Go ahead, gasp.)
A hard cheese like this last a long time in your crisper, and it packs well in lunches or on trips to the movies. Wrap it well in waxed paper, then pop it into a large Zip-lock bag, and you can nibble off the edges 3 to 4 weeks.
Rhone reds are a great way to ring in autumn with this cheese, but my favorite drink this time of year is a harvest ale. Malty tones know how to love the sugar. Coffee stouts work well, too, and mimic what many Dutch traditionally sip alongside a rich, aged Gouda like this: a hot cuppa joe. (Go ahead, gasp again.)
- Shave aged Gouda over a spinach salad containing dried cranberries, sliced pears, and toasted pecans. A potato peeler works well for this.
- Make panini out of roasted butternut squash slices, crumbled bacon, caramelized onion, and slices of aged Gouda.
- Grate aged Gouda over sweet potato gratin or mac’n cheese. Or, try dropping lumps of it into turkey chili. Surprise, kids!
- Serve aged Gouda on a cheese board with whole roasted garlic cloves, red apples, and sage leaves. Layer them on crusty baguette.
- Pack this in your lunch: pretzels, a hunk of aged Gouda, dry roasted peanuts, and red grapes or an apple.
- Create a “deconstructed caramel apple” appetizer by layering slices of green apple with aged Gouda, a dab of caramel sauce, and a crunchy salted almond or pecan. That jar of Dulce de Leche sitting in the back of your fridge disappears right fast this way.
For more nutty cheese ideas, please visit Madame Fromage.