Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How Dutch Gouda Is Made At A 100-Year-Old Family Farm | Regional Eats

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Claudia Romeo: Every year, 650 million kilos

of Gouda cheese are produced in the Netherlands.

Most of it is produced industrially, using pasteurized milk.

But there are some exceptions.

We're here to visit one of the few farms

that is still producing traditional raw-milk Gouda cheese.

Marije Van der Poel: We make a real farming cheese

on this farm.

And we are specialized in old, I mean, in aged cheese,

and the taste will really be special when it's aged.

Claudia: This place is actually quite remote.

We're, like, immersed in nature,

and we're actually on an island.

We had to take a small boat and cross the canal

in order to get here.

Do I go back?

We're in the right direction. Maybe.

I'm not very coordinated, no?

How do you row? [oars creaking]


And the woman that is producing the cheese

is actually doing it in her own house,

which is this one behind me.

Depending on whether you're a native,

you will pronounce it either "Gu-da" or "How-da."

So since we're talking about authentic Dutch cheese,

we're going to call it "How-da."

The cheese takes his name from

the city of Gouda in South Holland.

But unlike with other cheeses

that are named after cities,

there was never any cheese-making in Gouda.

In the Middle Ages, Gouda acquired

sole cheese-market rights,

basically becoming the only city in the country

where farmers could trade their cheese.

Gouda was associated so much with the cheese sold there

that it was eventually named after the city.

The Gouda Cheese Market was started in 1395.

Today, it is one of the most popular attractions

in the Netherlands.

There are only 280 farmers across the country

still making raw-milk boerenkaas,

or farmer's cheese.

And there are only two farms that take their cheese

to the next level, making Boeren Goudse Oplegkaas,

or aged artisanal Gouda, a special type of raw-milk

farmhouse cheese that must weigh at least 20 kilograms

and can be made only in the summer

with cattle grazing in the Green Heart region,

between the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

Meet Marije Van der Poel, who lives on an island

in the village of Rijpwetering

in South Holland with her husband, Hugo,

and their three children

and makes 15 wheels of aged artisanal Gouda every day

at the back of their house.

Marije: The family Van der Poel started here in 1932.

So my husband's grandfather, grandmother, they started here,

and we still make cheese on the same way,

on the authentic way of cheese-making.

And in 1965, his father and mother,

they came here, they married,

and they came and started also, and they make cheese.

We start living here in 1996.

We get married, and my mother-in-law, she make,

she learned me how to make cheese.

And now, so I do it now for 23 years on my own.

We have 150 cows, and we milk them twice a day.

Claudia: The cheese is made

from cold milk from the previous day

and warm milk that's fresh.

Marije: Every morning, I wake up at 10 to 6,

and my husband wake up at 4:15.

He calls the cows out of the land, and they come,

and then at 5 o'clock he start milking them,

and in the evening before, he also milk the cows.

And then when I wake up at 10 to 6,

first thing I do, I make the milk sour.

And then at 7 o'clock, I have about

3,000, a bit more, milk liters.

And then I put some rennet to it.

And when you put some rennet to it,

the milk will get thick in 30 minutes.

It's real special every morning.

So when I...leave the milk rest for 30 minutes.

After that short time, you can cut it really slowly.

And when you cut it, the fresh cheese will go down.

And the whey woke up.

We bring the whey away, we spread it all over our lands,

and the real fresh cheese we keep stirring, stirring,

and slowly we bring it back to temperature of the cows,

up to 37 degrees.

Not higher, because we make raw-milk cheese.

Claudia: The process of adding warm water

to the cheese, called "washing the curd,"

is generally used to make the cheese sweeter.

Washing the curd removes lactose,

which bacteria could transform into acid.

Blocks of curd are then pressed together into wooden molds

with the help of linen cloths.

Marije: We still use the molds of my husband's

grandfather and grandmother.

The wooden molds is real special to make cheese.

There are only a few cheesemakers in Holland

who still use wooden molds.

It's because we think the wooden molds is the best

to make old, aged cheese,

because the wooden molds keep the warm inside.

And that's the best for the taste.

So the taste after two years is really special.

You can still make slices of it after two years,

and that's real special.

There are only two farmers in Holland who make this cheese.

So that's really, really special.

Claudia: Each wheel has a unique plaque

made from milk protein with information

about where and when it was produced.

The curds are pressed in the wooden mold

for two hours on each side.

In the evening, they are moved to brines.

Marije: It's a natural way to bring salt into the wheels,

and water, slowly, only a few, out of the wheels.

And that's different of the factories,

because, in the factories where they make cheese,

they bring salt during the making process.

And we do it on an authentic way, in a salty bath.

So really slowly.

Claudia: Cheese wheels stay five days

in the salty baths then dry for 24 hours.

The Van der Poel family keeps them for a week

in their farm, where they are covered

by a biological coating.

Marije: We put a coating on it three times, every side,

because it's easier to keep them clean.

And then every week, a trader is collecting

about 90 wheels up here, and he keep them

in big trader houses, warehouses I think, warehouses,

for a long time, and he age them.

Because we are good in making cheese,

and he's good in aging cheese.

Claudia: Gouda has to age for least 28 days.

This specialty, the aged artisanal Gouda,

ages for least two years, but some wheels can age longer.

Marije: And there are no farmers who take the risks

to keep the cheese as long as we do in warehouses.

So it's really special.

This is a perfect.

It looks perfect.

Only a few small holes.

So the cheese looks at you like eyes,

only a few, and you see the crystals.

All the people think they are salty crystals,

but it's protein crystals.

Claudia: Marije cut us a slice of a 3-year-old cheese,

and as you can see from the texture,

it's actually quite soft,

and it's something that I wasn't expecting

coming from a cheese that has been aged for three years.

Like, three years is a such a long time,

and I would expect it to be, like, harder.

But here it is, let's give it a try.

It's got, like, real, real-milk, milky cheesy taste.

Like, no salt at all.

And it's sort of, like, nutty, caramellike.

Like, it reminds me a bit of Parmesan, in a way.

But in the sense that, like, it kind of

touches the same taste buds.

But texture-wise, it's completely different.

Like, this one is softer, and it melts more in your mouth.

It's buttery.

Authentic Dutch Gouda is protected

by the EU's Protected Geographical Indication

under the name "Gouda Holland."

This certifies that the cheese comes from Holland

and has been made traditionally with Dutch milk.

Real life is a real gym.

[Producers laughing] [Claudia sighs]

Producer: Row, Claudia! Producer: Can I have a beer?

Claudia: Huh?

Producer: [laughing] Do you have a TV?

[Claudia sighs]

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