Amsterdam is a city where cheese is king and the kind of cheeses is Gouda. While I was out getting slightly lost in the city (all those canals!), my fellow fromage fanatique ran into the Kassland cheese shop, one of the better know in Amsterdam. It has a staggering 280 varieties of cheese.
Gouda is a cheese with many personalities. When young, it's slightly creamy, easy to slice, and somewhat sweet in taste. But as it ages it turns into something completely different.
At 2 ½ years old, Gouda becomes darker, harder, sweeter, and has an almost butterscotch flavor. The cheese is also spotted with little white crystals. These crunchy bits of cheese protein are pure sugary goodness. This is one of our favorites. We were also lucky to find a 6 year old Gouda, something I had not seen before. It's similar to the 2 ½ year old, but even more intense. A very hard cheese and chock full o' crystals, it looks somewhat like a very dark Parmesan Reggiano, and I suppose it could be used in the same way. We ate it plain. It was that good.