Did you know… That we are not done once we have made our cheese? We carefully age
all wheels on pine planks in our aging room. The first two weeks, we flip the cheese
by hand once a day to make sure the moisture and herbs do not sink to one side. After
that, we still flip all wheels twice a week for as long as we have it.
We are in celebration mode here at Holland’s Family Cheese, because we had some success
at the World Cheese Contest in Madison last month! We won three Best of Class awards,
a second place, a third place and three fourth places: the best we have ever done
at an international contest. Our cheese maker Marieke was most excited about our
achievement in the Aged Gouda category: we came in second, third and fourth, beating
almost all of our competition from Holland. And you know, since she is from Holland
herself, and we are just a tiny little company with a limited budget compared to
those big Dutch companies, we do an extra happy dance when we beat them. Go Marieke
So how does this contest work? Countries from all over the world send their cheeses
to Wisconsin: there were over 2500 entries this year. To reflect the large variety
of cheeses, there are many different categories to enter depending on the milk (cows,
goat, sheep, or mixed), texture of the cheese (hard, semi-soft, soft), and flavoring
(plain, herbed, smoked), amongst other things. The categories are judged one by one.
Have you ever seen people taste wine? You can compare that with how judges taste
. They sniff, feel and taste the cheeses and… just like wine,
after they taste them, they spit the cheese out in a spit bucket. Eeeeew, gross!
But imagine if they would have to eat 2500 cheeses, they’d probably not feel so well
One product gets named Best of Class for each category. And out of all of those Best
of Class cheeses, 16 were chosen as the top cheeses in the contest. Those last “Sweet
16” competed for the big World Grand Champion Award. Our Smoked Gouda made it into
the Top 16, a major achievement. Unfortunately, we did not win the big award (those
Dutch, they ended up snagging that away from us, go figure…), but we feel very honored
our cheese was recognized at such a high level of competition.
Before I forget, Marieke® Black Mustard Gouda is the cheese of the month this April,
and our retail customers (that’s you) can get it at a discount at both
our farm and online store. The black mustard seeds add a nice texture and subtle
earthy mustard flavor to our Gouda.
You can order it right here in our online store. Talk to you next month! Wheyd