Everything there is to know about the Netherlands

Everything You Need To Know Before Your Trip to the Gouda Cheese Market

gouda cheese market

The Gouda cheese market has a rich history that dates back centuries. Gouda cheese itself originated in the town of Gouda in the Netherlands, where it gained popularity due to its exceptional taste and quality. 

The market played a vital role in the cheese-making tradition, bringing together farmers, traders, and cheese lovers. Even today, the Gouda cheese market is thriving, attracting visitors from around the world who are excited to experience this unique cultural event.  Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or simply seeking a unique cultural adventure, a trip to the Gouda cheese market promises to be an unforgettable experience.

History and Significance of the Gouda Cheese Market

Historical records show that Gouda cheese has been made in the Netherlands since the 12th century, making it one of the oldest types of cheese still around today. But here’s an interesting fact: while Gouda cheese is always made from cow’s milk, it’s more of a style of Dutch cheese than a specific kind of cheese. 

The name “Gouda” comes from a city in Noord-Holland, but cheese production was widespread across the Netherlands for many years. Surprisingly, Gouda cheese probably didn’t originate in Gouda itself. Instead, the city became famous as a trading hub where cheese makers and merchants could exchange goods during the Middle Ages. Gouda dominated the cheese trade and had the biggest cheese market in the Netherlands. That’s why the most common Dutch cheese ended up being called Gouda. Today, regular Gouda cheese is enjoyed all over the world. Its creamy texture, unique flavor, and round shape have made it a favorite among cheese lovers everywhere. 

history of gouda cheese market netherlands

How to Get to the Gouda Cheese Market

Getting to the Gouda cheese market is relatively easy, thanks to the town’s convenient location and excellent transportation links. If you’re coming from Amsterdam, the most convenient way to reach Gouda is by train. The journey takes around 55 minutes, and trains depart frequently throughout the day.

Once you arrive at Gouda train station, the cheese market is just a short walk away. Follow the signs or ask a local for directions, and you’ll soon find yourself in the heart of the action.

If you prefer driving, Gouda is easily accessible by car. The town is located just off the A12 highway, which connects Amsterdam to The Hague. There are several parking lots available near the cheese market, so finding a spot shouldn’t be a problem.

best gouda cheesse

Popular Gouda Cheese Varieties and Flavors

Gouda cheese comes in a variety of flavors and textures, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common types of Gouda cheese include young Gouda, aged Gouda, and extra-aged Gouda.

Young Gouda is creamy and mild, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It has a smooth texture and is often enjoyed on its own or melted over dishes. Aged Gouda, on the other hand, has a more robust and complex flavor. It develops crunchy crystals, known as tyrosine, which add a delightful texture to the cheese.

Extra-aged Gouda is the pinnacle of Gouda cheese, with a rich, caramel-like flavor and a crumbly texture. It’s a true delicacy that pairs well with a glass of red wine or a strong Belgian beer. Other variations of Gouda cheese include smoked Gouda, flavored Gouda, and goat’s milk Gouda.

gouda cheese varieties

Gouda Cheese Market Etiquette and Tips

When visiting the Gouda cheese market, it’s important to respect the customs and traditions of the local community. Here are a few etiquette tips to keep in mind:

  • Be patient and wait for your turn to sample cheese or make a purchase. The market can get crowded, especially during peak hours, so it’s important to be courteous and allow others to enjoy the experience as well.
  • Ask for recommendations and don’t be afraid to try new flavors. The cheese vendors are experts in their craft and can guide you towards cheeses that suit your taste preferences.
  • Bring cash, as some vendors may not accept credit cards. It’s also a good idea to bring a bag or a basket to carry your purchases.
  • Take the time to chat with the farmers and vendors. They are passionate about their products and love sharing their knowledge and stories with visitors.
  • Finally, don’t forget to take lots of pictures! The Gouda cheese market is a feast for the eyes, and capturing the vibrant atmosphere will help you cherish the memories for years to come.

Local Attractions and Activities in Gouda

While the Gouda cheese market is undoubtedly the star attraction, there’s much more to see and do in this charming Dutch city. After indulging in cheese, take a stroll through the historic city center, where you’ll find beautiful medieval buildings, picturesque canals, and charming cobblestone streets.

attractions gouda cheese market

Be sure to visit the Sint Janskerk, a stunning Gothic church known for its magnificent stained glass windows. The Gouda Museum is another must-visit, offering a fascinating insight into the city’s history and culture.

If you’re looking to explore the countryside, rent a bike and cycle along the nearby polder landscapes. The surrounding countryside is dotted with traditional windmills, quaint farms, and fields of colorful tulips, providing a picturesque backdrop for your adventures.

Where to Buy Gouda Cheese Outside of the Market

If you’re unable to visit the Gouda cheese market, don’t worry! You can still enjoy the delicious flavors of Gouda cheese by visiting one of the many cheese shops in Gouda. These specialty stores offer a wide selection of Gouda cheeses, including both traditional and innovative flavors.

Some popular cheese shops in Gouda include De Kaaswaag, Kaas en Zo, and Henri Willig Kaas. These shops source their cheeses directly from local farmers and producers, ensuring the highest quality and authenticity.