This amber-hued wedge is the Stompetoren Grand Cru, an 18-month aged Gouda that is a beautiful example of the category. The Stompetoren is made by CONO Kaasmakers, a cooperative of 500 dairy farmers in the north of Holland, about 40 kilometers north of Amsterdam, in the Beemster region of the Netherlands, and is distributed by Kaashandel Remijn. The region is a bit inland, but like much of the country is lowlands and influenced by the nearby ocean coasts, with rich clay soil and sea air making it excellent dairy country. As Peter Verweij of Kaashandel told me, the cheese ages at a slightly higher temperature and humidity, and the caves utilize “ionization” to precisely control the conditions within the caves, allowing for the final product to have a higher moisture and softer texture while also capturing the trademark flavors of an aged gouda.
The honey-gold paste is dense and creamy, fragmenting into big shards when cut, and scattered with tyrosine crystals, giving the cheese a pleasing crunch on the palette. The flavor is rich, sweet and buttery, with butterscotch, whiskey, and hazelnut notes, and a little sharp. The Stompetoren is available at different age points, with the Grand Cru being the longest-aged.
Purchased at Bedford Cheese Shop.