Cheese types

The ages:

  • New > matured for 4 weeks
  • Semi-matured > matured for 8 weeks
  • Matured >  matured for 4 months
  • Extra matured > matured for 7 months
  • Fully mature cheese > matured for 10 months
  • Very aged > matured for 1 year or longer

Types of cheese:

  • Gouda cheese   
    The Netherlands’ most famous and important type of
    cheese. It has a round and flat form, and weighs about
    12 kilos.
  • Edam cheese  
    The well-known spherical cheese, weighing 1.7 kilos.
    Abroad,  this cheese is known for its red wrapper. Leiden cheese  
    Cumin cheese; also referred to as “pitjeskaas” for its
    added  cumin seed.
  • Dutch cheese with holes 
    Flattened oval cheese with a round top, usually of the
    Maaslander or Leerdammer brand. The holes are caused
    by  bacteria in the cheese.
  • Frisian clove cheese   
    Firmly pressed cheese made of skimmed milk with cumin
    and  cloves.  
  • Herb cheese   
    Cheese with non-traditional herbs such as mustard, onion, 
    parsley, basil, nettle, or pepper.
  • Goat’s and sheep’s cheese 
    Spicy, white cheese of goat’s or sheep’s milk
  • Smoked cheese  
    Often in a sausage-like form with a brown rind. Currently,  
    smoke flavouring is added to the dairy, but it used to be
    actually smoked.
  • Cheese spread  
    A spreadable type of cheese as a result of the adding of
    butterfat, which is available in various variations and flavours.
    The melted product is heated, after which it has long storage life.

Hard and soft cheese
Most types of cheese in the Netherlands come within the
category of “hard cheese” or “sliceable cheese”. This is
connected to the water content in cheese, and its duration
to mature. Hard cheese, Emmenthal from Switzerland or
Parmesan from Italy, is extremely difficult to slice and
consists of 56% water maximum as a result of the long
maturation. Gouda and Edam are “sliceable cheeses” and
contain about 54 to 63% of water. Soft cheese has matured
a short period of time and is creamy. It consists of more
than 67% water; examples are Camembert and Brie.

Spring cheese
During the days when cheese was produced on farms, there
was a distinct difference in quality between cheese produced
in summer or in winter. If produced in winter, it was referred
to as “winter cheese”; cows did not eat fresh grass resulting
in milk and cheese of poorer quality. Cheese lovers looked
forward to spring when cows could graze on the fresh spring
grass. The first fresh milk from cows was used for making
cheese. After maturing for four weeks, spring cheese was
ready for consumption. Today, the quality of cheese is close
to equal all year round, but the taste of spring cheese can still
be distinguished: it is particularly fresh, mild, and mellow. In
early June, the arrival of the first spring cheese is celebrated on
“Graskaasdag” (spring cheese day) on the Alkmaar cheese
market. It is combined with various eventsand performances on
the market. The first batch of spring cheese is sold by auction,
the proceeds of which go to a good cause.