Looks Gouda to Me

10716 Looks Gouda to Me

A couple of days ago one of our clients returned his slice of our 4 year old Gouda, claiming that it was covered in mold and thusly inedible. I have spoken about moldy cheeses here before: “Mold is my Friend.” Most molds are actually beneficial; they can extract excess moisture out of the body of a cheese, as well as from its surface, and they can add flavor to the cheese as well. Not that you would want the molds that grow in or around cheese to overwhelm the flavor profile, but if you allow the mold to “do-its-thing” it can add a little accent.

As a matter of fact, given a choice between having a cheese that is a little misshapen with some colorful molds on the rind and one that has one flat single appearance in a “perfect” shape would be my preference. We must keep in mind that cheese is a living food, or that it should be. I look at the molds as flowers.

In the case of that old Gouda it was not any mold whatsoever. The cheese is so old and dry, yet exquisitely delicious, that the opportunity for mold development is long past. What appeared to be some unusual little molds on the cut surface was actually some of those phenomenal Tyrosine amino acids that had crystallized. Those little crystals in an aged Gouda or Gruyère are delightful on the tongue, and when they are consumed the Tyrosine works as a building block for the protein chains of which we are composed. Tyrosine is also a pre-cursor to the production of Norepinephrine and Melanin, among other things.

Some cheeses have different crystals that are usually considered to be defects in a cheese, such as Calcium Lactate. This is not the case with this Dutch masterpiece, nor is it a mold. Though this cheese may not have those “flowers” growing on the rind, it is still a “living” food, great with a cup of coffee and versatile with a full range of wines and beers as well.

Learn more about the incredible nutritive values of cheese, as well as any safety concerns you may have, in our Cheese & Wine 201 sessions.

Spread the curd!
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