The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Gouda. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

Aged Gouda cheese
Aged Gouda cheese

What Gouda etiquette is

Gouda etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Gouda. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Gouda etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about Gouda

Gouda is a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands. It is a product typical of the South Holland region.

Gouda is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. There are six main types of Gouda, based on the aging time. Young cheese ages for 4 weeks. Very old cheese ages for over 12 months and up to 36 months. Other varieties involve differences in the production method, such as smoked Gouda.

The color, texture, and taste depend on the aging time and production. Gouda can range from yellow to orange in color. Its texture can be semi-hard to hard. The flavor tends to be sweet, especially in the older varieties.

How To Serve And Eat Gouda cheese. The Top Etiquette Tips.
Best way to serve Gouda cheese. How to cook it. Gouda wine and food pairings.

Etiquette tips to serve and eat Gouda

1) How to store Gouda

Store Gouda in the fridge. Unopened, it can last for up to 1 or 2 months.

After opening it, wrap it in plastic or in aluminum foil. Keep any surface of the cheese protected from the air. Ideally, place the cheese in a sealed container too. Properly stored, Gouda can last for up to 2 or 3 weeks.

In the freezer, Gouda can last for about 2 months. However, freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Gouda only if you plan to use it for cooking. 

Store dishes with cooked Gouda in the fridge. They can last for up to 3 to 5 days. 

2) How to clean Gouda

You do not need to wash Gouda.

If you notice mold on its surface, slice it and discard the slice that has gone bad. 

3) How to cook Gouda

Gouda cheese melts very well. Normally, the younger varieties of Gouda tend to melt better than the aged ones.

You can add Gouda to many baked recipes. Such as savory pies, casseroles, soufflés, or flans. It is also indicated for fondue.

Melt it on top of burgers, red meat, or cooked vegetables. Such as baked potatoes or zucchini. It is not common with pasta or risotto. Aged Gouda can be grated and added to many dishes, such as soups.

Gouda is a popular ingredient for salad and sandwiches too. 

4) How to serve & present Gouda

Serve Gouda in large slices or in cubes. 

If you serve it in large slices, present it with a serving knife to slice it. Do not remove the rind before serving.

If you serve it in cubes, it is best to remove the rind before serving.

Gouda is best served in a cheese course. After the meal and before the dessert. Aged varieties are especially appropriate on a cheese platter. 

Gouda is common as a snack or as an appetizer too. Accompany it with bread or crackers.

Serve Gouda at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 30 minutes and 1 hour before serving. 

5) Food and wine to pair Gouda with

You can pair Gouda with burgers, bacon, ham, or roasted chicken. You can accompany it with charcuterie, such as Salami or Chorizo.

It goes well with potatoes, shallots, onions, spinach, or tomatoes.

Gouda pairs with fresh and dried fruits. Fresh fruit such as pears, apples, and even peaches. Dry fruits such as apricots or raisins. Its flavor matches well with jams or mustard.

Pair Gouda with a strong beer or with fortified wines, such as Port. With red wines such as Beaujolais, Merlot, or Malbec. With white wines like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Riesling.

6) How to eat Gouda

The outer layer is not edible. You must discard it. 

Use a knife to cut Gouda into bite-sized pieces or cubes. Then, use your fingers to bring the cheese to your mouth. Alternatively, place it on a piece of bread or a cracker. 

Using a fork is perfectly acceptable too.

gouda etiquette mistakes

Gouda etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst Gouda etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Serving spoiled Gouda.
  • 3/10. Pairing Gouda with the wrong aromas.

Additional information for properly serving Gouda

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Gouda cheese can vary depending on the aging time. On average, Gouda contains 356 calories per 100 grams. A single serving is about 30 grams and contains 107 calories.

How to buy the best Gouda

A crucial factor in Gouda etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

Gouda is available all year round. 

Choose the best

The best Gouda should come from the Netherlands. It should have a geographical indication seal on its packaging. The seal guarantees that the cheese was produced in the Netherlands, with milk from Dutch cows. 

Alternatives to Gouda

Valid substitutes include Gruyère, Emmental, or Fontina