Gouda, or "How-da" as the locals say, is a Dutch cheese named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. It is the most popular Dutch cheese in the world, accounting for 50 to 60% of the world's cheese consumption. Since the name is not protected, it has become a generic classification for all cheeses produced and sold under the name Gouda. Gouda is typically made from pasteurised cow's milk, although some artisan varieties are produced using sheep's or goat's milk.
Gouda cheese has a mild, sweet, and nutty flavour. The taste can vary depending on its age. Young Gouda is milder and creamier, while aged Gouda has a more intense and complex flavour. The texture of Gouda cheese ranges from semi-hard to hard. Young Gouda is softer and smoother, while aged Gouda becomes hard and develops tiny protein crystals. Gouda cheese has a pale yellow interior.
The ageing process can range from a few weeks to years. There are different varieties of Gouda, including plain or "young" Gouda, smoked Gouda (with smoky flavour), flavoured Gouda (infused with herbs, spices, or other ingredients), and extra-aged (or extra-matured) Gauda.
Gouda cheese is often enjoyed as a snacking cheese, melted on sandwiches or burgers. Young Gouda is suitable for melting, while aged Gouda is excellent for grating.