A Chef's Cheese Journey: Exploring Gouda's Unique Flavour

Chef Michael Howell is the original owner of Tempest Restaurant in Nova Scotia and a leading light on the Canadian food scene. He represents the Slow Food Movement in Eastern Canada and is the founder of Devour! The Food Film Fest.

As chefs, we look for the perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami when creating and perfecting a dish. Great cheeses like these Canadian Goudas, in combination with other wonderful foods available across the country, can complete the full range of flavours that make our mouths water in anticipation. We can enjoy them anytime in grand style.


A slice of baguette with cured sausage and a smear of apple butter are a perfect match for Canadian Gouda’s complex flavour. A sip of crisp cider nicely punctuates the pairing and prepares the palate for the next bite.

Mountainoak Farmstead Premium Dutch Gold Extra Aged Gouda
Like a prelude to a kiss, the nutty aroma of this cheese hints at the beautiful flavours to come. While European in inspiration, it’s definitely a Canadian cheese, and I love the grassy caramel flavours it exhibits. Think of the stunning match (made in heaven) with sausage and cider!
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Sweetness & goodness

The delicate spice of gingerbread, the rich flavour of butter and the sparkling bittersweetness of orange marmalade create a stunning backdrop for Gouda.

Sylvan Star Medium Gouda
Sylvan Star’s milk must be magical to have such creamy mouthfeel after being made into glorious Gouda. The pairing with marmalade (sweetness) and gingerbread (goodness) highlights the traditional yummy “tang” you would expect from a great Gouda.
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The fruity finish

Asian pears (or apple pears as they’re sometimes called) and pickled caper berries are really worth seeking as flavour partners for Gouda. The first is mild and crisp, the second delivers wonderful green tang. 

Sylvan Start Aged Gouda
This is a great Canadian alternative to parmigiano, and actually, it’s even better! I love to savour its crumbly goodness with sweet and tart accompaniments like caper berries before a meal or grated on fresh pasta with wild mushrooms. Its rich, saline balance makes it the perfect finish to a great dinner when paired with a beautiful exotic fruit with pronounced flavours like Asian pear.
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Rich & round

The softness and sweetness of caramelized onions is perfectly contrasted by the smoky, salty crunch of applewood-smoked cashews. The Gouda binds the two together into a perfectly seamless flavour experience. 

Sylvan Star Natural Smoked Gouda
Perhaps it’s the subtle hint of natural smoke that makes me want to enjoy this with sweet caramelized onions or possibly the maple flavours that cry out longingly for nuts. The smooth, buttery creaminess makes itself known as being in perfect balance with every pleasurable bite. Great Canadian cheese with dinner around a campfire, anyone?
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Are you gaga for Canadian Gouda? Discover more local variations by checking out the Canadian Cheese Repertoire.

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