I should start by saying that most Gouda—the disc-shaped semi-firm cheese cloaked in red wax—has never tasted like much of anything to me. But then I found aged Gouda. What’s more, I’ve found a domestic aged Gouda that gives the imported stuff some tough competition.
Smith’s aged Farmstead Gouda, from Winchendon, Massachusetts, is made in the traditional style, using the same recipe as the Dutch product. It comes from the milk of the family’s own herd, which is the very definition of farmstead cheese. (Wine lovers out there, think single-vineyard wine).
Like many longtime dairy farmers, Dave Smith decided that he needed to find a way to survive. So he went to Minnesota, talked to some farmers there, got inspired, and started making Gouda.
Made from raw milk and aged at least a year under a light wax coating, which lets it develop slowly, Smith’s aged Farmstead Gouda has a rich flavor, subtle sweetness, and the kind of crumbly texture you find in the very best aged cheeses. It’s a delicious grating cheese and would be a noble stand-in for your favorite Parmigiano. It’s a great bet for both beer and wine, as it pairs beautifully with ale, as well as with medium-bodied Pinot Noir.
While the Smith Family makes semi-firm Gouda, too, it’s the aged stuff that will knock your socks off. To order, or for more information about where to find it, call 800-700-9974 or visit www.smithscountrycheese.com. The farm accepts visitors, so if you’re in the area, call for a tour and tasting.