Gouda comes from the city of the Dutch town of Gouda just outside Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The Dutch have been producing cheese since before 400 AD. Records from 1100 show that Dutch bargemen paid their tolls in cheese at Koblenz in Germany and centuries ago, Gouda was a bustling center for cheese trade where farmers from surrounding areas would convene for a weekly kaasmarkt (cheese market). Today a cheese weigh house dating back to 1668 (The Waag) still stands as a beautiful monument in town. This was the place where the cheeses supplied and sold were weighed and taxes were determined.
More than 50% of the total cheese production in the Netherlands consists of Gouda cheese. Specialty Goudas may have cracked pepper, garlic, and onions, caraway or cumin seed, or nettles and other fresh herbs mixed into the curd. Aged Gouda that has been cured for two years is a more rare product, and one prized by cheese experts, but young Gouda has a mild creamy, nutty taste. The Dutch make a dish called kaasdoop, from the cheese which is a Gouda fondue served with potatoes and rye bread.
Fleur de Luze (£5.62) pairs well with Gouda – it's a lovely, lively, fresh and fruity white wine. The wine is made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc from grapes grown on clay and limestone soils. It's a clear, crystalline pale gold colour with a very clean citrus, lychee, and mango bouquet. It has a long, fruity after taste which follows through with a slight hint of ripe grapefruit and a refreshingly slight touch of fizz.
Fleur de Luze is made by The Grands Vins de Gironde Group which co-incidentally owns Château Senailhac where Nick and I stayed when Nick was made a pru d'homme of the Jurade of Saint Emilion. The GVG was formed in 1991 by the merger of several Bordeaux wine merchants and is made up of 8 firms and subsidiaries derived from original wine merchants, and each has its own special features. Maison de Luze is one of these and was founded in 1820 by Baron Alfred de Luze, Grand Duke of Hessen.
Gouda Cheese Fondue
1 lb gouda cheese, shredded
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tsp Kirsch
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Add the milk, stirring rapidly with whisk. Slowly stir in shredded cheese, stirring constantly. When blended and smooth, add the garlic, pepper, nutmeg and wine. Add the kirsch, if desired. Serve hot with bread cubes for dipping.