Visiting the Netherlands without tasting Gouda cheese would be like visiting Italy and skipping the pasta, or touring Germany without sampling the beer. It can be done, sure, but why?
The town of Gouda, home to the world famous cheese, hosts a delightful open air market on Thursday mornings all summer long. Visitors can sample a wide variety of Dutch treats while perusing the handiwork of local crafters and artists. Flowers, ceramics, and a lovely variety of fresh produce are available, most at very reasonable prices.
Locals are very welcoming of tourists, and questions about local products are answered very patiently. One word of advice: If you don’t want to look like a complete Netherlands neophyte (cough, cough), remember that locals pronounce both the town and the cheese as “HOW-da,” rather than “GOO-da.”
I could be happy all day long simply sneaking bites from a wedge of this lovely cheese, but alas, I am determined to cook with a respectable number of vegetables during my time abroad. To that end, I’ve created this very simple soup for you to try. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4, with leftovers)
1 large yam, peeled and diced
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
6 cups of vegetable broth or chicken stock
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 cups grated Gouda cheese
1 cup milk or light cream
Diced chives or crumbled bacon to garnish (optional)
Step 1) Bring yam, cauliflower, and broth or stock to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes). Let cool, uncovered, until lukewarm. Puree with an immersion blender.
Step 2) Add mustard, grated Gouda cheese, milk or light cream, and stir well.
Step 3) Ladle soup into bowls and top with a few strips of grated cheese, a sprinkle of chives, and/or a few bacon crumbles (optional).
This soup is delicious with a thick slice of Tijerbrood!