It’s always fun delving into the history of cheeses, the nuances that each throw at you and the many avenues to explore. While many cheeses come from the alpine regions, this comes from well below sea level. Almost 7metres in fact! Hailing from the northern regions, the rich soils have fed livestock for centuries while the fortifications have kept the sea out. In 1947, three cheese dairies created a cooperative called “The Combination”. Since 1990, CONO has joined forces with many others to produce cheese, butter, milk powder & whey powder while also being able to pay the farmers a premium for their milk. Of the Gouda that is produced, the best wheels are selected by l’Amuse, an affineur, to mature and care for the cheeses for the next two years.
PRODUCER: CONO Cheesemakers
• Raspberry and chilli dark chocolate
As far as Gouda goes, this is considered the best there is. Each wheel is individually selected and taken to l’Amuse for ripening. During this time, the cheese develops a deep orange pate as well as the formation of lactic crystals to give it an interesting texture. Apart from hints of caramel and hazelnuts, the main flavours that stand out are butter, nuts and salt. All of this happens within its velvety texture.
Consider giving birth and creating something that one day will be magnificent. Just after creation, you give it away to someone to raise it and care for it in a cave. When it is mature, it’s time to leave the cave and enter the big world of fromageries and ultimately be consumed. The Affineur is that person who does the raising of the cheese, know just how to get the best of it and when to let it loose. The Affineur can care for cheeses up to 2-3years, tending to each one almost daily. Their attention is vital if the world is going to raise the “cream of the crop”.