In a previous post I raved about a certain kind of aged Gouda--viz., Saenkanter--that is one of the most intensely flavored cheeses on the planet. The problem with Saenkanter, however, is that it's not widely available. I don't like to write about products that readers cannot easily find. The trouble with the aged Goudas that are widely available--e.g., Beemster, Old Amsterdam--is that they simply do not taste as good as Saenkanter. They are more interesting than delicious. In fact, many people find them quite difficult to eat.
I am pleased to announce I have discovered an aged Gouda-style cheese that is both delicious and widely available: Vintage Van Gogh from Roth Käse in Monroe, Wisconsin. Made from full-cream cow's milk, this mild Gouda is aged only six to eight months--in contrast to the three to five years of more "serious" aged Goudas. The cheese has a wonderfully mellow and creamy texture, with only a slight hint of caramel.
Ordinary Gouda, double-cream Gouda and Gouda Lite are almost completely tasteless. I am of the opinion that Goudas need to be aged or smoked before they become interesting. The short amount of aging Vintage Van Gogh receives provides it with just enough flavor to be tasty, yet not so much that it becomes dry and harsh. To give you an idea of how accessible this cheese is, my three-old daughter loves it. I'm going to serve Vintage Van Gogh at my next dinner party.
Roth Käse recommends serving Vintage Van Gogh with dried cherries, cranberries, cashews, almonds, or pecans. Roth Käse also offers a delicious array of cheese-based recipes on their website.
Shopping tip for Buffalo readers: I bought my Vintage Van Gogh at Wegman's, which is fast becoming my favorite place to buy cheese.