Trader Joe’s Sheep’s Milk Gouda – Holland – Food Review

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Gouda is Good-ah!  Just couldn’t resist.

The first mystery is, what kind of cow are sheep?  Wikipedia says Gouda is made from cow’s milk.   Trader Joe is selling us sheep’s milk Gouda.  The second mystery is, what’s a Gouda?

Starting with the second mystery,  Gouda is a city in the Netherlands (Holland to some of us).  While the city is the place where Gouda cheese originated, the name Gouda on a cheese does not mean the cheese was made in Gouda.  Gouda is now used only as a designation for a type of cheese that can be made anywhere.  Trader Joe further labels this product, “From Holland”.  So while we can’t trace this cheese down to its roots in Gouda, at least it comes from a close cousin.

Why sheep’s milk?  I don’t know.  What we do know is that using sheep’s milk to make Gouda is fairly rare, even in Holland.  Browsing the internet for prices, we can also find that most of the prices for sheep’s milk Gouda are about twice what TJ is asking.  A few internet reviews for sheep’s milk Gouda say it is a touch more tasty than regular cow’s milk Gouda.  Read that a stronger,  nuttier taste.  Part of that flavor difference may be due to the sheep.  But part of it may be due to a longer aging period.  Since TJ does not specify how long the cheese was aged, we won’t know for sure.  Some Gouda cheese has a red or yellow paraffin wax coating which generally indicates the cheese was aged  six months or less.  The longer aged Gouda cheese may have a black paraffin wax coating.  This cheese had neither color coating.   TJ’s looks like a good place to economically pick up a bit of both cow and sheep Gouda and make your own comparison.  When compared side by side with TJ’s own cow’s milk Dutch Gouda with the red wax coating, these are really two different cheeses.

One additional fact which may be important to some of us,  TJ says this cheese is made  from “Vegetarian Rennet”.  Rennet is the most widely used ingredient that makes milk curdle.  The curds of curdled milk eventually make the cheese.   Most rennet is derived from the stomach of animals, making it not-vegetarian if used in cheese making.  Vegetarian rennet is made from cultures of bacteria.  That leaves animals out of the cheese making equation.  This cheese also contains eggs (or lysozyme from egg whites to be more exact), if that’s important to you.  Because this is made with vegetarian rennet, I’ll add a vegetarian tag to the review.

Well I thought this would be a quick review like, ” … tastes good, go give it a try …”.   And 400 words later, you still don’t know how it tastes. It does taste good.  As might be implied from some comments above, this has a nuttier, or some people would say, more bitter taste, than less aged cow’s milk Gouda.  It’s a bit harder in texture which probably comes with longer aging.  That would make it also “less smooth” than the cow’s milk variety.   It’s a little less tasty and a little less hard than TJ’s own USA produced Asiago cheese, if you know what that tastes like.  In summation,  tastes good, go give it a try.

Calories 130 per ounce        Price $7.99 per pound

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9 Responses to “Trader Joe’s Sheep’s Milk Gouda – Holland – Food Review”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    I went to Trader Joe’s in Austin, TX and didn’t see sheep Gouda. I only found Cow Gouda from Holland. Was I looking in the wrong section?

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    • steveo Says:

      No, if they still carry it, it would be in the same refrigerator case as the other cheese. I haven’t seen any since 4 years ago. Either they don’t carry it anymore or it’s only available on a very limited basis. You can ask the friendly TJ crew the next time you visit. They may know. Good luck.

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      • Lindsey Says:

        How disappointing. I haven’t been able to find Sheep cheese at Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. I doubt Whole Foods would have it. I haven’t seen any goat gouda either. I’m looking for goat or sheep cheese high in Vitamin K2 because I can’t tolerate cow cheese very well and sheep cheese has better fatty acids.

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      • steveo Says:

        Try searching for ‘sheep cheese austin tx’ and follow some of the links that pop up. This company claims Whole Foods carries their sheep cheese. I don’t know. http://www.blacksheepcheese.com/retailers-featuring-our-cheese/ Aso consider

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      • steveo Says:

        Also consider local ethnic grocery stores from areas of the world where sheep and goat milk is a bigger part of their diet than here. Good luck.

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      • steveo Says:

        I was out of coffee so I made a run to Trader Joes today. I only go there about every 2 months. My local one had around 4 types of goat cheeses and a couple of sheep cheeses. None of the aged sheep Gouda I reviewed before of course. I picked up a goat Polder Blanc Gouda, $10/lb. I think this is a young Gouda and probably not as tasty as a more aged Gouda. I’ll give it a try and write it up. Maybe Texas doesn’t allow anything but cow products in the state? You know how Texas loves beef.

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  2. Eric Says:

    I tried this cheese recently and I’m very impressed by the quality and complexity. It is sweet and nutty toward the center, with a flavor that suggests it’s been aged for a fair bit of time. Toward the rind, it is acidic, almost a tinge of bleu flavor. It’s relatively hard and tends to break apart as I cut it. I was very happy to find Idiazabal (a smoky Idiazabal is my favorite cheese) at Trader Joe’s when I bought this, but I was somewhat let down by the Idiazabal and would consider this sheep Gouda a better cheese. Excellent for the price.

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  3. GroundCherry Says:

    Great, I’ve been looking for more sheep cheese options. Will have to check out my local TJs for this.

    I also highly recommend sheep cheeses if you’ve never tried a range of them: the flavor is incredible compared to most cow’s milk cheeses. That nuttiness is typical, and highlighted in different ways.

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